Store owner accepts apology from accused burglar, plans to drop charges

Kathy Gentry
Kathy Gentry (Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – “I’m sorry. That’s not me.” According to business owner Kathy Gentry, those are the words of an 18-year-old arrested last week by a K-9 unit inside a pastry supply store near Opryland.

Gentry, the owner of Sweet Wise Candy and Pastry Supplies, told News 2 the teen came by the next day with his mother to apologize for breaking in.

Sean Smith, originally of New Jersey, was charged with attempted burglary and false identification.

“He was truly remorseful. He was not here to cause any damage,” Gentry said.

It all happened Dec. 9 when Gentry says an employee reported an intruder.

He allegedly walked by the employee in his underwear and sweat shirt and said “hey” before going to a storage closet.

According to Gentry, that’s how he was found. Police said he didn’t respond or leave the closet when asked, so the K-9s rushed in and bit him, allowing officers to arrest him.

“My understanding is it was his idea to come and apologize.” Gentry told News 2. “He is the sweetest kid in the world. You could tell he was just physically shaken.”

She added, “When we talked about any of the details, he just recoiled in shame and he was in tears.”

When asked why he was in the business, Gentry said the 18-year-old admitted to drinking and errantly entering her business, which is close to the hotel where he was reportedly staying.

“He was staying at the hotel next door. He mistook the building. I think it is easy to do when you are in that state of mind.”

According to Gentry, Smith recalls little of the incident and was only awakened when the police dog was pulling him out of the storage closet where he was reportedly sleeping.

“That’s what he woke up to, was the dog pulling him out of the closet. And again, he’s not mad, he’s like he feels bad he put the police in that situation. They don’t know who is in there,” she explained, adding, “I think he made some stupid mistakes. And I’d really hate to see his life get ruined over it.”

Sean Smith
Courtesy: Metro Nashville Police Department

For that reason, Gentry says she plans to ask the court to drop the charges against the young man.

Both Smith and his mother declined opportunity to comment on the advice of the young man’s attorney.

But in earlier correspondence, Smith’s mother Carol wrote this to News 2:

“Kathy is terrific and I was happy she agreed to Sean’s request to meet and apologize to her. He felt very strong that she know the real story and more important the real Sean Smith. Immediately upon meeting it was clear to Kathy this was a case of a young, good college kid who made some not so good choices the evening before. We had a great meeting and have been keeping in touch since yesterday morning. There really was a true connection.

We all feel that perhaps it is important for a follow up story to clear up what was a misunderstanding of circumstances and the reputation for a hardworking, motivated good young man who has a full promising future ahead of him. As Kathy mentioned in her email, the charges will be dropped because of the real story being uncovered.”

Smith is out of jail on bond. He’s reportedly back at school taking exams. His case is due back in court March 22.

When contacted, Dorinda Carter at the Davidson County District Attorney’s office said, “It is possible for charges to be dropped if the victim does not want to proceed. That will be determined by the Asst. DA. He has a court appearance scheduled for March 22. We work closely with victims to reach the best resolution possible.”

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