HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A rash of violent crime has taken place in Hendersonville in a matter of weeks.
There have been more than a dozen car burglaries, several stolen vehicles, and, most frightening, two carjackings.
One of the victims told News 2 he was approached in his own driveway by four men wearing bandanas.
Taylor Butler explained he had just returned from work and, seconds after pulling into the driveway, he was staring down the barrel of a gun.
“Really the only thing I thought about was I wanted to see my kids again. I want them to be safe so that was the number one thing,” he said.
Home surveillance video shows the men who forced Butler to the ground before taking off with his car and other belongings.
“They backed down my driveway and hit my garbage can, and one of them stayed up here to make sure I was down, and when he left he kicked me,” he told News 2.
Just feet away, his two kids and wife were sleeping.
“Luckily, he ran right after he kicked me. That was probably when I was most afraid of the moment,” Butler explained.
He has since changed the locks on his house and upgraded his security system.
Another carjacking and a string of car break-ins within two days have Hendersonville’s mayor concerned.
“It’s not common for us to have violent crime in Hendersonville,” Mayor Jamie Clary told News 2.
Taking a proactive approach, Mayor Clary asked police how he could help.
“We had the choice of waiting about six months for some DNA samples to get tested or 10 to 15 days,” he explained.
The TBI told News 2 the Hendersonville Police Department requested rush forensic work on several pieces of evidence from the crime scenes, but they couldn’t guarantee results within the tight time frame.
Therefore, Mayor Clary chose to send the DNA evidence to a private company, costing the city $40,000.
“We needed to act with urgency. This was an opportunity to get some folks off the street quickly and prevent them from committing more crimes, and obviously the objective of this is to catch the guys and send a signal out there. Don’t commit crime in Hendersonville,” Clary explained.
The mayor told News 2 the $40,000 was already in the overall police department budget.
Hendersonville police believe these suspects are related to a number of crimes, saying they are running a full staff on the investigation and following several strong leads.