DATE: Friday, October 23, 2020
SUBJECT: Multiple Suspects in Custody after Rifles Stolen from West Side Home
CONTACT: Lt. Doug Daza / Col. Noah Robinson
AUTHORITY: Sheriff Dave Wedding

The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office has arrested one adult and three juveniles on charges related to the theft of multiple rifles taken during a west side residential burglary.

On Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 3:25 PM, the Sheriff’s Office responded to a report of a residential burglary in progress in western Vanderburgh County. The homeowner, who was not at the residence, had been contacted by neighbors who reported seeing several masked males exiting his home carrying rifles. The neighbors suspected that the home was being burglarized. The homeowner confirmed that a burglary was indeed occurring and called 911. Once deputies arrived and secured the scene, the homeowner was able to determine that four AR-15 style rifles and two Airsoft pistols had been stolen. The Airsoft pistols were manufactured to weigh and appear like real handguns. The investigation later revealed that the suspects thought they were actual firearms.

Detectives with the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation and processed the crime scene. A special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) as well as members of the Evansville Police Department, Indiana State Police and the US Marshals Service assigned to the US Marshals Fugitive Task Force assisted with the effort to locate the suspects and recover the firearms. Time was a factor, as investigators feared the firearms could be used in the commission of further crimes resulting in possible injury or death. Stolen firearms are commonly moved from person to person quickly, which makes recovery difficult if not impossible. Stolen firearms are often recovered only after being used in the commission of another crime.

The homeowner had installed surveillance cameras inside and outside the residence. The footage revealed two males entered the residence and while at least one other person involved did not enter. Identification was not possible due to both suspects wearing COVID 19 style masks. The footage did reveal that a delivery vehicle had passed by the residence during the burglary. Investigators located the driver, who had noted the suspicious activity and took care to remember important details. Information provided by the driver led to the identification of the vehicle used by burglary suspects. The owner of that vehicle, Derrick Bradley, was later located, detained and interviewed. He implicated himself in the burglary and admitted to possessing one of the stolen rifles. The rifle was later recovered from his vehicle following the execution of a search warrant. Bradley was initially arrested on a charge of Burglary. After a check of his criminal history revealed a previous conviction for Burglary a Class B Felony in April of 2002, a charge of Serious Violent Felon in Possession of a Firearm was added.

The investigation progressed into the early morning hours of October 22 with the arrest of a fifteen year-old juvenile male, taken into custody at his residence. The juvenile cooperated and admitted to taking part in the burglary. A second rifle was recovered as were two handguns not related to this burglary. One of the handguns had been reported stolen out of Owensboro, KY. Further investigation led to other sixteen year-old males, who both confessed to involvement in the burglary. Additional information was obtained that led detectives to recover the remaining two rifles.

Derrick Bradley was placed in the Vanderburgh County Jail where he will remain without bond pending a court appearance. The juveniles were transported to a secure juvenile detention facility and will be held pending a hearing. The juveniles advised that once they realized the Airsoft guns were not actual firearms, they threw them away.  


Derrick Dewayne Bradley (pictured above), 46, of Evansville. Burglary as a Level 4 Felony, Serious Violent Felon in Possession of a Firearm as a Level 4 Felony, Theft of Firearm as a Level 6 Felony

Juvenile #1, 15, of Evansville. Burglary as a Level 4 Felony, Possession of a Firearm by Serious Violent Felon as a Level 4 Felony, Theft of Firearm as a Level 6 Felony

Juvenile #2, 16, of Evansville. Burglary as a Level 4 Felony, Theft of Firearm as a Level 6 Felony

Juvenile #3, 16, of Evansville. Burglary as a Level 4 Felony, Theft of Firearm as a Level 6 Felony

Pictured above: One of the recovered rifles.

Presumption of Innocence Notice: The fact that a person has been arrested or charged with a crime is merely an accusation, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.