NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A 16-month long investigation by Metro Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation resulted in significant indictments of suspects accused of targeting and robbing Hispanic victims across the Metro.
Metro detectives tell News 2 the group was organized and systematic in how they committed their alleged crimes. Once arrested and interviewed, suspects confessed to police they targeted Hispanic families because they believed they often had cash and were reluctant to contact the police.
Det. Sgt. Will Amundson lead a group of detectives who worked night and day on this massive crime spree that encompasses cases from 2017 to 2019.
“You have 150 cases, and the first question with 150 cases is how do you know that they did 150 robberies? Well, we used our partnership with the FBI and they did digital forensic analysis and they were able to connect those cases back,” said Amundson.
According to investigators, from 2017 to 2019, six members of an alleged crime syndicate would drive from Clarksville to Nashville using rental cars. Once in Nashville, the armed group allegedly preyed upon predominantly Hispanic families robbing them in parking lots and inside homes.
Detectives say some victims were assaulted. Other victims were robbed and then locked up in bathrooms, their cell phones taken from them.
Detectives tell News 2 that one of the defendants had prior military experience, which the group used as they did counter surveillance.
“They were able to allegedly rob citizens in Nashville for three years that we know about and never got caught,” said Amundson.
According to detectives who have interviewed syndicate members, the group knows each other from high school and members have allegedly been robbing together since then.
In later years, police say, members of the group reportedly used more sophisticated measures to avoid police detection.
“They actually did a home invasion 500 feet from a marked police car. In our interviews we know they did counter surveillance and they know how the police respond to calls and it was really sophisticated,” said Amundson, “There’s prior military experience by some, and they would drive from Clarksville down to Nashville and perpetrate robberies in rental vehicles.”
Lt. Pete Dusche tells News 2 that the group was aggressive and often threatening.
“Sometimes they’d climb to the second floor and make entry into someone’s residence through a sliding glass door that way.”
“We have huge satisfaction for the victims,” added Amundson, “We have a vulnerable community targeted and we had a group that would go into houses and take their entire life savings hard earned money and then they’d go and party on that money.”
In the end, six co-conspirators facing more than 100 indictments over a 2-year period are now all facing serious jail time.