GALLATIN, Tenn. (WKRN) – A burglary suspect is behind bars tonight thanks to a quick-thinking victim, some fast-acting police officers and License Plate Recognition (LPR) cameras.
On Wednesday morning at around 10:15, Gallatin police officers say a homeless man allegedly stole items out of a shed on Anthony Street. Within one hour, that alleged burglar was arrested as the Gallatin Police Department and Hendersonville Police Department worked together to track him down.
The victim, Theresa Stewart, tells News 2, “In my heart, I felt this will never be solved. It is useless. It will never be solved.”
Stewart said she was driving by her parents’ storage shed behind a home that burned down, and that’s when she saw a man, now identified as 51-year-old Dean Timmons, loading up his van with her parents’ belongings.
“There was a guy in our shed stealing,” Stewart said.
She claimed she tried to block the man in and he got flustered. He pleaded with her not to call the police and she said he tried to give her back some of the stolen items.
According to Stewart, when she was calling police they told her Timmons was homeless. Timmons then drove across Stewart’s lawn and headed south.
Stewart gave police Timmons’ license plate number which was broadcast to all police agencies.
The items may not look like much, but to Stewart’s elderly parents who are not in good health, the items are important.
“This stuff, some is old, but it’s my father’s, my father’s stuff that he worked hard for,” Stewart said.
While Gallatin police took the burglary report in Gallatin, Stewart said they were notified that Timmons had been arrested in Hendersonville.
News 2 was on scene as police officers from both agencies went through Timmons’ van that was loaded with Stewart’s family’s belongings.
According to investigators, thanks to Stewart getting the license plate on the van and Gallatin police putting that info out immediately, Hendersonville police’s LPR cameras flagged the van, allowing officers to take the baffled Timmons into custody.
Detectives in Gallatin interviewed Timmons who confessed to the crime, claiming he was homeless and down on his luck.
“I was shocked it all happened within an hour,” Stewart said.
Investigator Chuck Cook said the cooperation between agencies and citizens brought this case to a close quickly.
“Citizen cooperation is huge for us to do our job efficiently, effectively,” Cook said.
Timmons’ record shows a bad history of driving, but no burglaries before Wednesday’s crime.
According to the Sumner County Jail, Timmons is being held on a $6,000 bond. He’s scheduled to appear in court on June 15.