China Grove, Texas is probably best known for being the “sleepy little town down around San Antone” immortalized by the Doobie Brothers in the 1970s, but the south Texas burg of about 1,200 people is making local headlines for the wrong reasons these days. According to one woman, the China Grove police improperly seized several firearms belonging to her and her husband almost four years ago, and despite the fact that no charges have ever been filed against the couple, they’ve been unable to get their property returned to them.
KABB-TV in San Antonio recently highlighted Brandy Napier’s struggle to get answers from local officials, but ran into a few roadblocks of their own in reporting on the gun seizures.
Brandy Napier lives in Seguin, but she and her husband have family they visit in China Grove.
That’s where her husband Franklin was pulled over by a China Grove officer in August 2018 for reportedly running stop signs.
Brandy says he had just left the gun range and had three guns in the car.
The officer confiscated them, but made no arrest.
No formal report was ever given to the Napier’s, just a burglary inventory sheet typically used to document items stolen in robberies.
“She stated that she didn’t have the proper documentation to give him, so that’s why she put it on that and she let him go,” says Brandy.
Brandy showed us receipts for two of the guns listed in her name and Franklin’s along with the serial numbers listed.
The third gun she says was bought at an auction.
She’s made several attempts to retrieve those guns since, making trips to the City of China Grove office.
Every time she says she’s been told the case is pending in the District Attorney’s office and that the guns couldn’t be returned without documentation from their office.
Brandy made a last ditch effort to retrieve the guns last month.
“He said, ‘I don’t have the documentation from the District Attorney’.”
KABB contacted the local police to get a copy of that burglary inventory sheet, but were told they had to talk to the District Attorney. So, the station filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the D.A.’s office, only to hear back from the office that media requests have to go through the state Attorney General’s office (something that doesn’t make a lick of sense to me, by the way).
Napier’s attorney, meanwhile, says he’s checked with the D.A.’s office and can’t find any case involving Franklin Napier.
“If they haven’t filed a criminal case against the person by now, the statute of limitations has run,” says attorney Patrick Hancock. “A lot more than two years has gone by, so I don’t think the DA can file anything against him and I don’t believe there’s a case sitting in the DA’s office by China Grove on this matter.”
Nearly four years later, no arrest or charges have been filed, a red flag for this attorney.
“If they can’t produce the guns that were taken, the personal property of the individual that was taken and they can’t produce a public police report to even verify that a China Grove officer stopped them and took an individual’s property, then they need to be investigated by the Texas Rangers,” says Hancock.
This is such a bizarre story that I’d love to see the Texas Rangers get involved. Based on what Brandy Napier and her attorney have said, there was no cause for Franklin Napier to have any of his guns seized during the traffic stop, and the fact that neither the China Grove police nor the Bexar County District Attorney’s office can or will say anything about what happened to the firearms in the years since is simply unacceptable. Are they hidden away in an evidence room somewhere, did they end up in the hands of a China Grove police officer, or have they simply gone missing? Brandy Napier can’t get any answers. Her attorney hasn’t been able to find out. Local media have been stymied. Yeah, I’d say it’s time for the state to get involved and find out what happened to the Napier’s firearms. Who knows, maybe the D.A. can end up filing charges… not against the Napier’s, but whoever ended up with their property.