NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Thieves are targeting outdoor dealership stores across Middle Tennessee, stealing thousands of dollars in equipment.
The latest occurred Saturday night at Sumner Outdoor in Gallatin. The owner, Matt Bryson said it’s the third store of his the criminals have hit in the last two months.
In the latest case, Bryson said the thieves parked in an adjacent parking, then cut a hole in the fence, before trying to break in the front door. When that failed the criminals busted out a window and ultimately made their way inside. Once inside you can see the two suspects on camera grabbing several pieces of handheld equipment.
“They stole about $2,000 worth of equipment and (did) about $3,000 worth of damage,” Bryson explained saying they were in and out in less than 60 seconds.
A similar scene was caught on camera in late December at Mac Equipment in Murfreesboro.
“The style of break-in is the same; they are either using sledgehammers or rocks, it’s always two people, the looks of the people look the same.”
Bryson said the thieves appear to be fearless, striking his stores on busy roadways in the early evening hours.
“All three of our locations sit on very prominent streets in the communities in which we are working in. It’s almost like the busier it is, it looks like, the more they are supposed to be there,” said Bryson.
The thieves are getting away with thousands of dollars in equipment, but costing the small business owner much more.
“Ironically, they are doing more damage to the stores than they are stealing equipment and that’s the most frustrating thing, you know. They are shattering big pieces of glass which is very expensive to replace, but in all three stores that we have so far the overall damage has come to about 15K.”
Bryson said his stores aren’t the only ones burglarized, investigators believe by the same criminals.
“This is really about the greater dealership community in Middle Tennessee. I know there is at least eight confirmed locations so far. Inventory right now is a very difficult thing to get and the fact that they are coming in and stealing it as we are getting it as we go into one of our busy seasons, this is a negative for all of us.” said Bryson.
Employees at Dickens Turf and Landscape Supply in Mt. Juliet and Center Star in Columbia said their stores were also recently burglarized.
Bryson is putting up a reward of $2,500 for the arrest and conviction of the criminals.