NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The historic Marathon Village complex near downtown Nashville was heavily damaged during a break-in attempt Monday morning.
Officers were first called to the building located at 1200 Clinton Street just after 6 a.m.
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Video surveillance footage shows a large, white box truck ramming into the front of the building at least six times. The driver backed into the entrance in addition to ramming into it straight on.
Eventually, the truck drives away, leaving a pile of rubble behind.
Complex owner Barry Walker told News 2 an ATM is now missing from the complex.
The truck used in the break-in was reportedly stolen from a Nashville graphics company in South Nashville.
Walker has owned the building since 1986 and helped make the property a center for commercial businesses in addition to performance and visual artists.
“It’s very bad. It’s heartbreaking to see things like this and people who don’t care about anything. It could have been worse and luckily it’s not as bad as it could’ve been. I’ve been here 40 years, I’ve never had anything like this happen before. We keep an eye on it pretty tight,” explained Walker.
Walker believes this incident is an example of growing crime throughout the city.
“We will have to beef up security, add a lot of additional cameras, better lighting, but I think it’s awareness of what’s going on and you have to crack down and see what you can do. You can only do so much. I know the police department can’t hang out here all the time. I think it comes down to the court systems to prosecute people and not just slap their wrist,” said Walker.
The complex began as a cotton mill factory in 1881 before it became Marathon Motor Works in 1911 and produced automobiles until 1914. It was the first factory to manufacture automobiles in the southern United States until General Motors started building Saturns in Spring Hill in 1990.
Revitalization of the complex began in phases with Walker turning Marathon Village into a four-block complex of artist and photography studios, offices, a radio station, salons and a distillery.
Since the building is on the historic registry, there could be some obstacles with codes to rebuild the structure but Walker said he will make it happen.
Walker added the entrance that was destroyed was the original entrance to the factory.