NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Police arrested a man accused of stealing seven rental cars from Nashville International Airport, and arrest reports indicate that man, Marcquez James, was arrested on similar charges in 2019.
The 34-year-old’s alleged crime spree began to unravel on the evening of Thursday, April 7, at Drakes Creek Park in Hendersonville.
According to Hendersonville police, James was scheduled to umpire a youth baseball game and arrived in a stolen car, a BMW SUV, stolen from Avis Rental Car.
License plate recognition cameras at the park entrance red flagged the stolen car and police quickly arrived and confronted James before he ever stepped onto the ball diamond.
“An officer located the vehicle inside the park, saw a gentleman dressed to umpire a baseball game. As the officer approached, he got in the vehicle and took off,” Sgt. Neal Harris with the Hendersonville Police Department said.
The Hendersonville case quickly expanded as investigators with Metro and airport police developed James as a suspect in the theft of seven rental cars stolen from Nashville International Airport.
An arrest affidavit says six of those stolen rental cars were discovered at a Madison auto body shop, and News 2 has learned that James is also linked to a January 30 sexual assault investigation on the Vanderbilt University campus.
An affidavit indicates that James matches the description of the suspect seen leaving campus in a stolen rental car from BNA. As of now, James has not been charged with the sexual battery.
A spokesperson for Vanderbilt University sent News 2 this statement:
“On Monday, January 31, 2022, Vanderbilt University Police Department received two anonymous reports in which female students indicated they had been groped by an unknown male in the area of West Garage and 25th Avenue Garage on campus. VUPD’s criminal investigations unit reviewed video camera footage from the area, located both incidents and identified a suspect vehicle.
“After pulling the vehicle’s license plate, VUPD also connected the vehicle to an indecent exposure reported to the university on Jan. 27, 2022.
“VUPD determined the vehicle was registered to a rental car company at Nashville International Airport. Through coordination with airport police, VUPD identified the suspect, who was wearing the same clothing, on airport surveillance cameras returning the car. The suspect then ordered a rideshare. The rideshare company was able to provide contact information and a drop-off location for the suspect which led to an address in East Nashville.
“Additional investigation at the location by Metro Nashville Police led to the identification and arrest of Marquez Alexander James.“
As for Marcquez James being an umpire in youth baseball? Andy Gilley, Director of Parks & Recreation for the city of Hendersonville writes:
“Mr. James was sent by an umpires association that services Bellevue leagues and the adult baseball league in Nashville, as well as other areas. He came recommended from that association and had never umpired here in Hendersonville in our youth leagues previously.”
Gilley also told News 2, “We are extremely grateful that our LPR cameras that we have been able to have installed in our parks identified this individual and his vehicle before he ever stepped foot on a field to officiate a game here. Great quick police work from our officers working around our parks. Having things like LPR cameras and a great relationship with our police department helps continue to make our parks and our city safe and free of bad guys like Mr. James.”
“It is concerning, I’m not sure how that happens. He was working as an umpire in some capacity somewhere. He does not umpire in Hendersonville. He was a fill in. I’m not sure how that happens. He does have a lengthy criminal record,” Sgt. Neal Harris added.
James is charged with multiple auto thefts in Nashville and in Hendersonville; he is also charged with evading arrest and reckless endangerment.
News 2 has reached out to the umpires association for comment on the vetting of Marcquez James. So far, we have not heard back.