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Former Dundy County Sheriff arrested as part of investigation into firearms missing from sheriff's office

December 8th, 2023

The former Dundy County Sheriff who was recalled from office last month has been arrested on charges related to firearms missing from the sheriff's office.


The Nebraska State Patrol says Clinton "CJ" Smith, 42, of Benkelman, was arrested Friday for theft by unlawful taking and possession of a stolen firearm. Following his arrest, he was lodged in the Dundy County Jail.

According to an affidavit for a search warrant, which was obtained and served on Friday, on Nov. 29, a lieutenant and a sergeant with the Nebraska State Patrol met with Interim Dundy County Sheriff Ryan King and Dundy County Attorney Arlan Wine to discuss firearms that were missing from the sheriff's office.

The affidavit says an inventory was previously conducted on Aug. 7 due to the evidence room getting moved. All firearms were accounted for at that time.

Upon Smith being recalled from office on Nov. 15, the affidavit says that on Nov. 17, King and a Dundy County Deputy Sergeant began an inventory of the evidence room using a list from the Aug. 7 inventory and discovered four Glock handguns were missing.

The affidavit says the keys to the evidence room were then changed, with only King and the sergeant having keys to it.

On Nov. 20, the affidavit says, King phoned Smith to advise him of the missing firearms, to which Smith reportedly stated he had not been in the evidence room since the Aug. 7 inventory, but that he would check a safe in his garage. The affidavit adds Smith told King he may have taken a Glock 34 home to take to the shooting range and was unsure whether he returned it.

The affidavit says King told Smith he needed to bring any firearms he had back to the sheriff's office by 4 p.m. MDT Nov. 20 or it would be entered as stolen.

The affidavit says Smith phoned King around 2:15 p.m. and told him he did not locate any in one safe and could not access a second safe, but that he would contact a locksmith.

The four reported handguns were then reported as stolen to the National Crime Information Center.

On Friday, court records say the search warrant was served on Smith's Benkelman home and on his silver 2013 Toyota Tacoma pickup. According to court records, the search located one Glock 34 handgun. No other firearms were located.


Former Dundy County Sheriff arrested as part of investigation into missing firearms | KHGI

KHGI Nebraska TV is the ABC affiliate station for Central and South-western Nebraska, providing news, weather, sports and local event coverage to residents throughout the area including: Kearney, Grand Island, Hastings, North Platte, Lexington, Holdrege, McCook, York, Alda, Aurora and Broken Bow.
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