BERRY HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) – Berry Hill Police used sophisticated sleuthing technology to help nab an alleged serial business burglar.
Detectives, working with Metro police, determined who their suspect was. Then with a court approved warrant, placed a powerful GPS tracker on the alleged suspect’s BMW and followed his every move.
It all began on July 17, 2021 in Berry Hill with a destructive smash and grab business burglary at the First Watch Restaurant on 8th Avenue.
According to Det. Tony Russo, the thief, now identified as Clarence Wright, used a sledge hammer to smash his way into the business. Once inside, he grabbed a safe containing money and fled.
Russo told News 2, three days later, the same suspect hit Sam & Zoey’s Coffee Shop on Heather. Again a sledge hammer was used to smash into the business, and the safe stolen.
This time, police got video of the get-a-way car; a black BMW. Russo says the front headlight was out.
Russo put out a BOLO and Metro police responded saying they know the car and the man who it’s registered to.
“One of the East Precinct detectives got back to me and said I’m familiar with this guy and I’m familiar with this vehicle,” Russo said.
Russo got a court-issued warrant to put a magnetic GPS on Wright’s car.
For approximately the next three weeks, Russo tracked Wright’s every move.
Because the warrant is for Berry Hill only, Russo had to wait for Wright to commit a crime in his jurisdiction.
On August 17, around 4 a.m., the GPS alerted Russo that Wright’s BMW is at the Fire House Subs on Thompson Lane.
Russo says the business has just been broken into, but the alarm has scared the intruder away.
Russo got patrol cars to saturate the area and police found the BMW which takes off at a high rate of speed.
Russo says officers cancel the pursuit for safety reasons since they have the GPS tracker and know exactly where Wright will be.
The next day, Metro police and Berry Hill officers worked together and took Wright into custody without any incident.
Russo said, “It was an easy take down, everything went smooth, nobody was hurt.”
Investigators soon located the blue sledge hammer seen in multiple business burglaries. They also found a crow bar and brass knuckles, that are also used for breaking glass.
According to Russo, Wright watched him pull the GPS device off the BMW.
“So when we had him in handcuffs in the back of the car, I reached under his car and pulled off the GPS, and he (the Metro Detective) said we know where you have been for at least the last month.”
Russo says Wright was shocked and said nothing. Russo said the moment was satisfying for all the officers who spent weeks tracking the alleged business burglar.
“Yes, it was. It goes to show that if you come into Berry Hill, or the Metro area, we will work together, a collaborative effort to take you down. No matter where you will be at. You you don’t know how we will do it, but we are going to get you.”
Clarence Wright is in the Metro Jail on three of Berry Hill’s burglary charges. Detectives believe he could be responsible for twice that many.
And Russo says based on the investigation and the precise locations of Wright’s where-a-bouts, Metro may have also solved a large number of previously unsolved burglaries in Nashville.
Wright has a long criminal history in metro dating back to at least 2015. His offenses include drugs, thefts and multiple burglaries.