NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Aggressive smash and grab car burglars are casing upscale Berry Hill apartment complexes and Nashville hospital parking lots.
And now, police from Metro to Berry Hill are teaming up looking for a gang of young men who steal cars and then have no problem breaking car glass to get what they want.
Berry Hill Police tell News 2 that detectives are working close to three dozen car burglaries over the last several weeks. Police say there were 16 just Sunday and Monday morning.
Some of the break-ins are to vehicles that were left open, but detectives say this gang has no problem smashing glass. Detectives say this group is brazen, often targeting cars in broad daylight and passing over valuables looking for guns and ammunition.
“We tell people all the time, don’t leave valuables in the car, especially guns and ammo. And that’s what they are doing. They are breaking in looking for guns and ammo now,” said Detective Tony Russo.
Police supplied News 2 with video from an 8th Avenue parking garage adjacent to an upscale apartment complex.
The video shows a red Kia Soul that was stolen from Goodlettsville.
The video shows the driver parking, waiting for his two accomplices who go from car to car peering in with a cell phone light. And when they see something they like, detectives say they smash the glass.
“We have stolen cars now. We’ve had some hospitals in the area hit. We’ve talked to the Midtown detectives who say they have been hit as well and we think they are all linked together,” said Detective Russo.
One of those hospitals is St. Thomas Midtown in Nashville. Pictures supplied to News 2 document half a dozen trucks and cars with smashed windows and other damage.
The pictures indicate the vehicles in the parking garage are parked in busy areas and it is during daylight hours. Some of the employees expressed frustration to News 2 that they are fighting COVID-19 and also dealing with vandalism and theft when they finish their shifts.
Russo says the criminals have no heart.
“Right, these are hard-working people, they have good-paying jobs and nice things and now they are getting their stuff broken into by people who are common criminals,” said Detective Russo.
Russo is fearful that the weapons that the thieves are looking for will be used on innocent people, the police, or even the criminals themselves.
News 2 reached out to St. Thomas Midtown who provided us this statement:
“In response to the recent spike in instances of break-ins at public and private parking garages across Davidson County, we are collaborating extensively with the Metro Nashville Police Department to ensure the comfort and safety of our employees, patients, and visitors, in addition to expanding our ongoing investment in security systems and personnel.”Michelle Heard, Public Relations Manager, Ascension St. Thomas Hospital
Metro Police confirm with News 2 that over the past month there have been 21 auto burglaries from parking lots at both St. Thomas Midtown and TriStar Centennial Medical Center.
The red Kia Soul stolen from Goodlettsville and spotted on surveillance footage in the Berry Hill parking garage was also seen driving through the hospital parking garages. The Soul was recovered by Metro Police on Monday.
Metro Police sent this statement to News 2:
A review of stolen vehicle reports in Nashville from Sunday, August 2nd, through Saturday, August 8th, shows that 65% of the automobiles taken (47 of 72) were easy targets because the keys were left inside or made available to thieves. Six of the 72 vehicles stolen were left running without the driver present.
During this reporting time period, a total of 25 guns were stolen from vehicles; 12 of those vehicles was left unlocked. So far this year, 414 guns have been stolen from vehicles. The police department’s continuing PARK SMART campaign strongly urges citizens to lock their automobile doors, secure any valuables—including guns, and REMOVE THE KEYS.Metro Nashville Police Department Statement