'Open carry' retaliation? Bald Knob Police Chief's truck vandalized

Bald Knob Police Chief Erek Balentine went outside of his home Monday night to find his personal truck fully engulfed in flames. It was immediately determined to be a case of arson.

"I opened the front door and the whole back glass fully engulfed and then written on the side of it second amendment," Chief Erek Balentine said.

"Second amendment" was written on both sides of the truck. The right to bear arms--at least openly without a permit has been a topic of the town recently when Bald Knob citizen Richard Chambless was arrested and then later convicted for open carrying inside a McDonalds.

Balentine says the message the arsonist was trying to send didn't work.

"They really didn't get a message. The message that I've heard a lot is they basically want me to back off. They want me to stop. They basically want me to leave it alone and that's not going to happen. Burning my truck didn't help," Balentine said. "It actually makes me want to enforce more and go forward with it until we can get higher courts to give an answer."

While the chief isn't investigating the arson himself, his detectives hope to quickly find the person responsible for setting the truck on fire.

"I want it stopped before it happens again," he said.

Channel 7 News spoke to the attorney for Richard Chambless. Chambless said he wanted to make sure and say that he doesn't know who is responsible for the truck arson, but he doesn't want any crime like that to happen and he hopes whoever did it will be found and prosecuted. A pre-trial hearing in his appeal is set for Oct. 19th.

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