An alert clerk and some quick-acting Franklin Police Officers put a stop to a scary, multi-state crime spree, Saturday night in Cool Springs.
Shortly before 8:00 p.m., officers assigned to Franklin PD’s “Not In Our Mall” operation were contacted by an employee of Jared Jewelers, in the Thoroughbred Village Shop Center. The quick-thinking employee called after one of the suspects entered that store wearing a hoodie, surgical mask, hat, and sunglasses – even though it was dark outside. Nearby undercover officers quickly spotted and followed that suspect leaving the area in a van occupied by several others.
Minutes later, the van pulled into the fire lane in front of JCPenney, at the CoolSprings Galleria. That’s when Franklin Police Officers jumped into action after seeing four masked suspects bail out of that van and run into the store.
The getaway driver was quickly arrested as he waited outside for the other suspects, who immediately started using sledgehammers to smash glass cases and steal diamond jewelry. One suspect pepper-sprayed an employee during the incident. Another suspect fought an officer who interrupted the in-progress robbery, actually trying to grab the gun of the officer who was arresting him. All of this unfolded while the store was open, with shocked customers and employees watching.
Three suspects fled as the driver and suspect who fought an officer were both arrested. Additional officers quickly flooded the area, including K9 Officers from Brentwood and Williamson County, and located & arrested two of them in nearby parking lots. Detectives are working to identify one remaining suspect who was able to get away.
There have been at least five similar incidents across Tennessee and Arkansas, over the past several weeks with a combined loss of more than $1.5 million. Detectives in Franklin are working with investigators from multiple agencies to determine if the suspects arrested in Franklin are responsible for other incidents, including an earlier smash and grab jewelry robbery at the CoolSprings Galleria Macy’s on November 4.
All four suspects have been charged with Aggravated Robbery, Felony Vandalism, and Evading Arrest. Dunterious Traylor, seen fighting with police in the video, is facing the additional charge of Assault on a First Responder. All four remain behind bars this afternoon.
Franklin Police say that their relationship and close communication with area retailers, combined with a strong police presence in the city’s shopping districts make Franklin a very precarious place for thugs like these to operate. Officers will continue to vigilantly patrol and protect Franklin’s shopping venues throughout the busy Christmas shopping season.
Operation Not In Our Mall has netted more than 34 arrests since November 1, and led to the recovery of more than $7,000 in stolen merchandise, not including this most recent case.