NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Metro police call them organized retail crime specialists, and they’re causing problems for the West Precinct by stealing expensive, luxury goods, and selling them online.
According to Sgt. Robert Peterson with the Metro Nashville Police Department (MNPD), the Mall at Green Hills, Nashville West Shopping Center, and One Bellevue Place have been hit the hardest this year, up to 134 incidents so far.
West Precinct leaders told residents the thieves often work in groups and steal luxury handbags and other items.
“That’s just what they do for their job,” Peterson said.
“When certain companies, if they have armed security, it makes all the world of a difference. When they get rid of their armed security, it’s like open season,” he added.
The West Precinct recently dedicated six detectives to the three shopping centers to work the big theft cases, and it’s paid off.
In April, officers arrested 21-year-old Jayona Brown, the woman convicted of killing Metro officer John Anderson in 2019, for allegedly stealing $40,000 worth of Louis Vuitton handbags from the Mall at Green Hills. A judge sent her back to prison for six years for parole violation.
This week, detectives arrested one of the department’s top 10 most wanted criminals, 24-year-old Antonio Crockett, for his alleged involvement in a retail crime ring accused of stealing thousands of dollars worth of luxury goods from the Mall at Green Hills since 2021. Crockett had six felony warrants and was wanted in multiple other surrounding counties, according to Metro police. He is being held in the Metro-Davidson County Jail on a $113,000 bond, and is not eligible for release due to his other warrants.
“When we know the ones who are causing the issues, we have to get them off the street,” Cmdr. Carlos Lara said. “Antonio Crockett was one of them; he was a frequent flyer.”
Once officers make an arrest, the District Attorney General’s Office gets to work, according to DA Glenn Funk.
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“Shoplifting is bad enough, but organized retail theft is a major problem,” Funk said. “We take those cases very seriously.”
Funk told News 2 his office’s Economic Crimes Unit is in charge of ensuring retail thefts are investigated and prosecuted properly. Funk’s office is also working with the Mall at Green Hills to make sure the cases don’t fall through the cracks.