SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) – From Franklin to Murfreesboro and beyond, law enforcement agencies across Middle Tennessee have reported aggressive bands of thieves who pose as shoppers before rushing out of stores with thousands of dollars worth of stolen merchandise.
Spring Hill has also experienced this crime phenomenon.
On October 25th, officers were called to the Crossings of Spring Hill after two women reportedly walked out of a sporting goods store with more than $1,200 worth of merchandise.
By the time police arrived, they found the women’s car still running in the parking lot, and the women inside a beauty store.
Police quickly identified the women as Danielle S. Pitt, 22, and Jasmine Slaughter, 30.
Spring Hill Detective Mike Foster tells News 2 the actions of the women and the amount of merchandise taken indicate they are possibly working with a larger crime syndicate.
“We believe they are the ground level for a larger organization that goes around in Middle Tennessee to various stores,” Detective Foster said.
In the sporting goods store, police say the women had been trying on merchandise and commenting how good items look, and then suddenly they just left with $1,293 worth of merchandise.
When officers checked the trunk of the car the women left running in the parking lot, authorities found it stuffed with stolen clothes. The merchandise was not only from the sporting goods store, but also from other retail outlets.
Police say they also found a device in Pitt’s hand bag used for unlocking the security devices affixed to most new clothing.
Detective Foster says, “Usually the main goal is to get a product for free and turn it into cash in some way.”
He says it is also possible that the groups shop for others, and then provide that stolen merchandise to clients at a discount.
According to the arrest affidavit, Daniell Pitt admitted to stealing all the clothes, so she was charged with shoplifting over $1,000, a felony.
Jasmine Slaughter was taken to the Williamson County Jail on an unrelated outstanding warrant out of Franklin.
Detectives tell News 2 they do not believe these women were working alone.
Foster says the women are very likely part of a larger operation, saying, “They do answer to someone. They are not usually out by themselves. For the most part, they are usually part of a group and then fan out and hit a bunch of stores all at once and regroup later.”
Spring Hill Police say they are talking to other police agencies in the area, sharing notes about this case.