Two arrested after stolen gun recovered from Casper College apartment

Josiah J Bell and Deja L Sunrhodes courtesy of the Casper Police Department

CASPER, Wyo. — The Casper Police Department says that two suspects have been arrested in connection with an automobile burglary, wherein a firearm was taken.

Law enforcement records show that Josiah J. Bell, age 21, and Deja L. Sunrhodes, age 19, were arrested during the late afternoon hours of September 10, 2019.

Sunrhodes faces recommended felony charges of Aggravated Burglary and Conspiracy. She also faces recommended misdemeanor charges of Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Marijuana.

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Bell was recommended for a misdemeanor charge of Marijuana Possession, and a felony charge of Accessory After the Fact.

Police say that the arrest came after witnesses reported that Bell had been trying to sell a Springfield handgun for a reported price of $70. The witnesses told officers that they had been visiting the apartment of an acquaintance on the Casper College campus, when Bell took the witness into a bedroom of the apartment and showed him the pistol.

The witness claimed that Bell offered to sell the pistol for $70. When asked why the price was so low, the witness told officers that Bell indicated the gun was stolen.

With this evidence and partnership from officials at Casper College, Casper Police say they were able to obtain a search warrant for the location in which the transaction was said to have occurred.

Upon execution of the search warrant, police located a firearm as well as multiple controlled substances.

Bell and Sunrhodes were taken into custody at the scene.

The seized firearm was stolen out of a vehicle parked in a residential driveway in Casper at the end of August.

“Thankfully, we will never know the types of crimes that could have been committed with this stolen firearm,” said Casper Police Detective Anthony Stedille. “Most auto burglary cases we deal with are crimes of opportunity. Do not leave your valuables and firearms unattended inside your vehicle and always lock your vehicle. Help us keep guns out of the hands of criminals.”

Police identified Bell, in an affidavit ,as a known gang member, who was currently on probation.

The weapon was identified as a Springield 9mm pistol, and had been allegedly kept in the pocket storage area of the driver’s side door of the burglarized vehicle. Police say that they matched the serial number of the stolen firearm with that of the one recovered from the Casper College residence.

Sunrhodes told officers that several weeks prior she had been drinking at a party and discussing “car hopping” with a few other people. According to an affidavit filed in the case, Sunrhodes then left the party to go “car hopping,” and while doing so entered a vehicle and took a pistol from the driver’s side door pocket.

She went on to say that after showing the gun to Bell, Bell said that they should get rid of it.

Police found the pistol in a toilet tank, inside the apartment, where Sunrhodes said that she put it because she reportedly panicked on seeing officers approaching the apartment.

Officers also report finding a large quantity of jeweler’s bags, including one containing a white crystalline residue, suspected to be methamphetamine. Police also report finding a bud of marijuana as well as a partially smoked marijuana cigarette.

Police say that Sunrhodes indicated that she purchased the marijuana for somebody else, and had traded for the methamphetamine. She further told officers that she had given the methamphetamine away to various people in Casper.

Neither Sunrhodes nor Bell was identified as being the listed occupant of the on-campus housing, where they were arrested. Police affidavits say that the resident of the home has been evicted from campus, because of policy violations with the firearms and controlled substances found in the apartment.

All of those cited or arrested are presumed innocent until convicted in a court of law. Charges are subject to change following official filings from the Natrona County District Attorney’s Office.