Belle Meade license plate recognition cams bust Columbia fugitive

Crime Tracker

BELLE MEADE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A suspect accused in a Columbia home burglary was arrested in Belle Meade thanks to license plate recognition cameras all around the city.

Belle Meade has 19 cameras situated around the city. 24/7 the cameras are scanning license plates.

On Nov. 5, a vehicle associated with an aggravated burglary popped up.

Dash Cam video captured the stop.

“I’ve got him pulled over at the intersection. Is he known for weapons?” the officer asks.

Belle Meade Police Officer Kate Cloxton pulled over the Ford Ranger. The man behind the wheel was Douglas Lawrence who was wanted on aggravated burglary charges out of Columbia.

Video showed the 62-year-old in handcuffs, surrendering without incident.

Belle Meade Police brought the suspect to Franklin, where they met Maury County Law Officers who took Lawrence into custody and to the Maury County Jail to be booked on the July charges.

Chief Tim Eades says, “LPR cameras hit and gave us a location so she (the officer) came to the location to search for a vehicle description so we were in the right place at the right time.”

According to Columbia arrest affidavits obtained by News 2, on July 23, Douglas Lawrence backed his 2019 white Ford Ranger to a garage on Queen Bee Drive, where he reportedly entered the home and took a $700 refrigerator without authorization.

A resident in the area noticed the truck and the man and turned on his surveillance camera. He shot the truck backing into driveways and he shot the truck’s temp tags and gave those to police. He talked to News 2 on the condition of anonymity.

“They waited till they saw us go in the house and they returned, hurried up and moved pretty fast because they knew we were watching. They pulled in backward, threw the stuff in the garage and took off.”

News 2 went to Douglas Lawrence’s home just outside Belle Meade City limits.

A woman answered the door. She confirmed that the 62-year-old lives there. She says he was not home. She then proceeds to tell News 2 that this is a private matter and the arrest is all a big mistake.

“That’s a complete, I mean that is a complete error. They have his picture, but there is some confusion.”

The witness is sure of what he and his wife both saw.

“There is people going into these empty houses and moving the refrigerators to the garage. And I’m like you sure they don’t work here? And she is like, no, they are not working here, because when I took the dog out they jumped in the car and they took off.”

Chief Tim Eades says LPR technology is the wave of the crime-fighting future.

“Yes, we are fortunate to have a low crime rate here. Having this technology is allowing us to interdict, to find wanted people. It makes us feel good to assist the greater community by getting these folks off the streets.”

Douglas Lawrence was booked back into the Maury County Jail. He made a $2,500 bond the very next day. He’s in court on December 12.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Don't Miss

Trending Stories