Sheriff: Armed robbery shows need for better rest area security

A look at the scene of the armed robbery. (Photo: WKRN)

DICKSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – After two people were charged with robbing a woman and her son at a Tennessee rest stop at gunpoint and leading officers on a multiple county high-speed chase, the sheriff said he is concerned by the crime.

It happened on January 24, and now Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said for future security he wants to work with the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

“I am concerned by how it is isolated,” Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said. “Even though it has a high traffic volume, it is kind of out on the southern part of our county.”

Shortly after the robbery, Bledsoe noted the need for more surveillance cameras and lighting in some parts of the rest area on Interstate 40 West in Dickson County.

“When we have an incident like that, we need all the help we can get when we are investigating the case and looking for evidence,” he said. “We have had thefts, vandalism and different things like that. We have even worked suicide on the back of the property there.”

News 2 contacted TDOT and the department is evaluating security at the location.

“Surveillance options are something we want to look into,” Spokeswoman Kathryn Schulte said. “TDOT does plan on discussing possibilities with the other agencies involved with the rest areas, including tourism and THP.”

There are a total of 34 rest areas and welcome centers across Tennessee.

Some of them however, are closed for routine maintenance or are under some type of construction.

Sheriff Bledsoe said anyone traveling and using the rest areas should be aware of their surroundings.

“If it does not look right go to the next stop and don’t go to that rest area,” Sheriff Bledsoe said. “If someone appears to be watching you there may be some kind of motive for why they are watching you.”

Sheriff Bledsoe said he is already planning to increase patrols at the rest area in Dickson County.

He is also planning to meet with TDOT and THP personally to discuss other safety upgrades.