MT. JULIET, Tenn. (WKRN) – An 18-year-old was arrested Wednesday evening after Mt. Juliet police spent hours searching for four men involved in a gun store burglary.
Malik Bradford, 18, of Nashville, was booked into the Wilson County jail after authorities say he confessed to his involvement. After his arrest, police say they learned there are 5 suspects total, including Bradford, meaning four remain on the run.
The men are accused of breaking into the nRange gun store on Lebanon Road around 2:45 a.m. Police say a stolen Volvo from Nashville was used to smash through the glass windows.
While inside, the men stole a mixture of 19 long guns and handguns. Seventeen of those stolen firearms have since been recovered, police said. There is no evidence that any ammunition was stolen.
After fleeing nRange, police said the men then drove to Parrish Hill where they unloaded the stolen guns from the Volvo into a Chevrolet Caprice, which was ultimately stopped by police a short time later on Park Glen Drive.
During the traffic stop, the men inside the car fled on foot to a nearby wooded area. That’s when authorities found several of the guns inside the car.
Mt. Juliet police said Bradford, 18, was located a short time later but his involvement wasn’t immediately known. He allegedly later confessed to his involvement during the investigation and was charged with burglary, two counts of theft of property, and possession of a prohibited weapon.
There’s no word at this time if anyone else was taken into custody after the suspects ran from officers.
But several hours later, as authorities were searching for the men, a resident in the 2700 block of Curd Road reported hearing someone attempting to get inside her house.
News 2 spoke with homeowner Ethel Freeman who said she believes she nearly had an encounter with one of the men on the loose.
“I had made my coffee and I could hear my storm door making a screech,” she recalled. “Police asked me if I was sure. I told them I am 1,000 percent sure.”
Freeman said she immediately began yelling for her brother.
“By the time I got the pistol out, nobody was here, so I guess I scared them away when they heard me screaming and hollering,” she said, adding, “I was terrified. I really was and I don’t know what I would have done if I would have been here by myself.”
Officers conducted an extensive search with K-9 units in the area, which is about a mile away from Mt. Juliet High School and in the middle of where the two cars used in the crime were abandoned.
No one was found and additional arrests have yet to be made. Four suspects remain on the run.
Special agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting police with their investigation.
The public is asked to remain vigilant and to call 911 if they see any suspicious activity in their area.
Several schools, including Mt, Juliet middle and high schools, Elzie Patton Elementary School and West Elementary School were all placed on a soft-lockdown during the active search. Those lockdowns have since all been lifted.