Man pleads guilty in case connected to gun theft

Published 6:19 pm Tuesday, June 14, 2022

A man who was arrested and who allegedly was involved in a case of stolen guns has made his pleas in the case in Mower County District Court Monday.

Bradley Blaine Beckstead, 31, of Blooming Prairie, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of felony violent felon in possession of a firearm and one misdemeanor for driving after cancellation.

A jury trial has been scheduled for Nov. 14, 2022.

Beckstead was arrested earlier this year after he was found in possession of gun from a case involving April Taylor Arends, 27, of Austin, who has been charged with 12 felony counts of burglary and theft and one gross misdemeanor count of theft and who Beckstead had been dating.

One of the guns was found in the center console of a rented vehicle driven by Beckstead. Beckstead allegedly admitted to an Austin Police Detective that he drove the car, but was unaware of the burglary Arends was charged in.

During a search of Arends’ apartment, her phone and tablet were seized. An instant message conversation had been discovered between Arends and Beckstead on the afternoon of March 2, 2022, after the rental car was seized by law enforcement.

In the exchange Beckstead tells Arends, “the ar’s in the car, I’m walking and I’m just hoping they don’t look.” Later in the conversation Beckstead messaged Arends and said “So if they figure out your story was a lie you gotta come clean cry and tell them it was your and you didn’t know.”

Beckstead has a lengthy criminal history including convictions for felony threats of violence in July of 2021, fifth degree drug possession in September of 2020, fifth degree assault in April of 2015 and domestic assault in August of 2012.