Man burglarizes Cheatham County school bus barn, returns to strike again

Crime Tracker
Troy Luttrell (Source: Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office)

CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Cheatham County Sheriff’s officers busted a burglar who returned to the scene of the crime one too many times.

The crimes took place on August 27 and then again on August 30. Investigators say Troy Luttrell came to the county school bus garage and highway department at 1037 Thompson Road.

On August 27, the 53-year-old South Carolina native reportedly used a Bobcat parked at the county garage to smash the corrugated metal of bus barn. He then slid into the building through the hole he created.

Once inside, Luttrell had access to tires, batteries, air filters, oil filters and chainsaws.

According to detectives, on this first night of crimes, Luttrell stole 15 bus tires, valued at $500 apiece. He also took 20 brand new bus batteries.

Police say he loaded the stolen equipment in a county highway department truck and left the yard with the stolen truck.

What Luttrell did with the batteries and tires is not known, but in a highly unusual move, Luttrell returned the stolen highway department truck back to the yard.

Ashland City Police Detective Bill Powers says that’s a new one on him.

“No, I’ve never had anything like that happen in 30 years of law enforcement,” said Detective Powers.

And what makes this case even more bizarre? Powers said that Luttrell got greedy and returned to the scene of the crime to commit the same crime just three nights later.

This time, Ashland City police were ready.

Thanks to increased patrols in the area and alert officers who noticed a few things that were out of place, officers sealed off the area and called for backup. That’s when Ashland City police and Cheatham County sheriff’s deputies moved in, catching Luttrell red-handed inside the bus garage.

Once again, Luttrell had 20 tires and batteries and more merchandise loaded into the county work truck he stole three nights earlier.

On officer bodycam, you can see officers take Luttrell into custody at gunpoint. Luttrell told officers he is working alone.

Officer: Who’s with you?
Luttrell: Nobody’s with me.

While some officers stayed with Luttrell, other officers swept the massive Highway Department. Bodycam shows tense moments as they ducked through the hole in the wall separating the bus barn and the Highway Department.

Officers swept this cavernous building, guns extended, not knowing if there was another burglar inside. It turned out that Luttrell was working alone.

On bodycam, Luttrell talked about his life and his addiction to crack cocaine He said he has been in and out of prison in both North Carolina and South Carolina over the last 30 years.

Luttrell says he had been clean for the last seven-and-a-half years, but his addiction to crack cocaine once again led him down this dark path.

Luttrell: Crack’s why I’m doing this.
Officer: Crack’s why you’re doing this?
Luttrell: Yeah. I don’t do heroin. I don’t do nothing else. I was clean seven-and-a-half years. I had a girl, man. Credit built up. I trashed everything. It overrides your common sense. It goes against your better judgment!

Detective Powers says Luttrell is originally from York, South Carolina. According to Google Maps, York is 421 miles from Ashland City, Tennessee.

“I don’t know why he came here,” said Powers, “He says he got on I-40 and just drove.”

Luttrell is in the Cheatham County Jail charged with four counts of burglary and possession of burglary tools. Police say they still don’t know what Luttrell did with the first load of 15 bus tires and 20 batteries.

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