SPRING HILL, Tenn. (WKRN) — Car burglaries happen every night in Middle Tennessee. According to many police agencies, if a car door is locked, and there are no valuables left in plain sight, most criminals usually move on to the next car.
And while it may not seem like much, leaving a car door unlocked and the keys inside, it can sometimes lead to something much more dangerous including police chases, shootouts and even deaths.
There was that potential the night of May 29 in Spring Hill. That’s where investigators get a call of suspicious vehicles in a subdivision. Police say those cars may have contained people who were attempting to break into unlocked vehicles.
“We got a call at 10:40 p.m., two cars in a neighborhood, attempting to break in, checking door handles on cars,” said Det. Mike Foster.
Spring Hill Police get behind the suspect vehicles. At the time of the encounter, the officers do not realize that either car is stolen, nor are there any reports of items being stolen.
An officer chases a white Chevy Malibu for a few minutes. But when the driver’s speed and driving behavior becomes more radical, the officer calls off the pursuit.
The officer says, “I’m shutting it down. He’s about to lose it. I’m shutting it down.”
A few minutes later, other Spring Hill police cars encounter the second burglary suspect in a black Ford Escape. Police will later learn the thieves found this vehicle unlocked and the keys inside, so they stole the car from the Spring Hill Subdivision.
For close to ten minutes, the driver of the stolen Ford drives fast and dangerously. In the end, the driver cuts behind Spring Hill High School, jumps a curb, and races down a dusty trail.
On bodycam you hear an officer yell, “He’s wrecked out.”
The officers jump out, guns extended, screaming for the driver to show his hands.
By the time officers clear the car, they realize the driver is gone and running through the dark woods.
Officers break out flashlights and try and seal off the subdivision. As the officer runs, you can hear his breathing, as the thin beam of the flashlight illuminates a small section of yard, or alley or road.
On police radio, you hear the officers say they see the thief running, darting through the shadows, but they never get a clear look at him.
Then, in the dark of night, a single shot is heard. The officer gets on his radio, “Be advised a shot’s been fired. Unknown whereabouts.”
Detective Mike Foster was not on the foot chase, but he has reviewed the bodycam many times. He says the moment is frightening.
“You don’t know where this person is. You don’t know whether they are shooting in the air or shooting at the officers,” said Det. Foster.
Foster says no police officer discharged their weapon. Where the shot came from is very much under investigation.
When asked how the shot being fired changed the game, Foster said: “We become more aware of our surroundings and the potential threat out there.”
When reminded that all of this happened because thief found a key in an unlocked car, Foster said: “Yes, we want people to realize, don’t be a victim. Don’t set yourself up to have your car or your valuables taken. Do everything you can to protect yourself.”
In the end, two cars were stolen. The white car from Nashville, the black Ford from Spring Hill.
So far, nobody has been arrested. Spring Hill Police urge everyone to lock their doors and remove their valuables from vehicles.
If anyone has any information, you are urged to contact the Spring Hill Police at (931) 486-2252.