BELLE MEADE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A theft ring out of Florida is one member short this evening, thanks to some hard work by area law officers.
The case was broken in Belle Meade where detectives had little to go on but put in a lot of hours looking for a needle in a haystack, or in this case, a black car.
News 2 has obtained a video from August 26, 2019. It shows a crime in progress in a Belle Meade parking lot.
Police say, a man now identified as Aron Vassell, breaks into two vehicles.
The surveillance footage shows the 25-year-old Florida man, peer into a car, then use a device to shatter the window.
He reaches in and steals an expensive purse, then dives into the car and steals more items.
In less than 15 seconds, he drives away.
Belle Meade Police Chief Tim Eades says, “That was very fast, very aggressive. He was gone in seconds.”
And about that tool he used to shatter the glass, the chief says this.
“The tool shatters the safety glass. If you use the tool it doesn’t set the alarm off.”
To find Vassell, detectives search hours of surveillance video from nearby intersections around the scene of the crime and finally locate the black Hyundai.
They then used License Plate Recognition technology to read the Florida plates and determine the car was a rental out of Tampa.
Police checked the rental records and came back with the name Aron Vassell.
“This is good ole fashioned police work,” Eades says.
Police get another break in the case two days later when a minivan shows up at the same exact parking lot and two more cars are broken into.
This time LPR technology spots the license plate and officers see the van was rented from BNA. The man who rented the minivan? None other than Aron Vassell.
Police tell the airport police to keep an eye out for the minivan, and a few days later, when Vassell tries to return it, airport police are waiting for him and he’s caught.
“He has a criminal record in Florida and Georgia so this is not his first rodeo,” Eades says.
Vassell is facing multiple felonies here in Davidson County.
Meanwhile, police are looking for other members of his crew.
If you have any information, contact the Belle Meade Police. Police say it is very probable that Vassell is working with three or four associates.