Fateful words that led Bald Knob Police Chief Erek Balantine to cut felony plea deal with prosecutors.
The Arkansas police chief burned his own personal vehicle, writing “2 Amendment” in spray paint to try and deflect attention from stealing a shiny new shotgun donated to the police department for auction.
The sentencing hearing is pending.
Former Bald Knob Police Chief Erek Balantine resigned in “fear for his family’s safety,” his last day was October 5th, 2015.
This month, he pled guilty to possession of a stolen firearm, and will pay over $12,968 in restitution to his Progressive Insurance for torching his own personal pickup truck and then making an insurance claim.
The former Chief faces 10 years in jail.
It all began in mid-September whe the small town Arkansas cops made headlines for unlawfully [__arresting photographers, recording police while lawfully open carrying firearms__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2015/09/20/arkansas-cops-detain-men-for-photographing-police-department-while-open-carrying/), as you can see in the video below.
It wasn’t his first arrest of citizens Open Carrying without warrant or law either, but it was the first caught on camera.
Only days later, matters took a turn for the weird, when Balentine abruptly resigned his position as Chief citing concern for his family’s safety.
He started a new job with the Beebe Police Department on October 5th.
Ten days later they fired Balentine too.
Chief Balantine’s truck had been lit on fire in early, the words “2 Amendment” scrawled on both sides as you can see in the video below.
But even last September, [__reports indicated that the fire might have been an inside job__](http://photographyisnotacrime.com/2015/09/23/arkansas-police-chief-resigns-as-open-carry-battle-heats-up/).
Balentine blamed it all on Open Carry activists.
Balantine lied baldly.
In October, Arkansas [__state police investigated__](http://www.arktimes.com/ArkansasBlog/archives/2015/10/26/state-police-now-probing-arson-of-former-bald-knob-police-chiefs-truck) and the worst was discovered.
Bald Knob Chief Balentine had attempted a false-flag operation (failing miserably), by committing arson on his own vehicle and blaming Open Carry activists.
Then the truth emerged.
According to local news outlet [__THV11__](http://www.thv11.com/news/local/ex-bald-knob-police-chief-admits-to-stealing-shotgun/82508582):
> Balentine had acquired the firearm in spring of 2015 from a former officer who wished to donate the shotgun to the Bald Knob Police Department for the purpose of auctioning it off to raise money for a cage to hold the K-9 unit.
> The former officer purchased the shotgun, a Baretta Model A300, for $1,199 and shipped it to All Star Pawn in Bald Knob, a federal firearm licensee.
> The donor intended for All-Star Pawn to hold the shotgun and make a legal transfer to the winner of the auction once the police department had the funds.
> The release stated that Balentine was never authorized to keep the shotgun for personal use prior to the auction. Balentine took the shotgun on his last day as police chief and attempted to sell it to an acquaintance via a text message that read, “brand new, I will take $800 for it.”
Perhaps if the former Chief was truly concerned about his family, he wouldn’t have concocted a bizarre and expensive diversion to steal a small sum from his own department serving the 3,000 person Arkansas town.
But the disgraced ex-Chief is very lucky he’s not being charged for his bald-faced lies about arson, because US Attorneys said they would skip charging him for that crime, and would forgo mail fraud charges for making the false insurance claim too.
“They can do all they want with my truck, my property, but I’m not giving up,” uttered the disgraced Chief of Bald Knob police in famous last words given to a local TV show.
Now we know who “they” were, and regarding his property, well, perhaps if this lawman had better defined the lines between “my” and public property, perhaps the 31-year old felon might’ve had a better go of things as a cop.
Minus one dangerously crazy Police Chief, his pyromania, his kleptomania and his aversion to open carry, the town of Bald Knob is probably a safer place today.