NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – After a stolen car was used in multiple crimes across Davidson County, Metro police are urging people to lock vehicles and not leave spare keys inside.
On Tuesday, June 20, a black Toyota 4Runner was stolen from the Lexington apartments in Bellevue.
Police believe the suspects drove the stolen SUV to the nearby West Hills complex where they rummaged through more vehicles.
A neighbor woke up to a car alarm and went outside. Authorities say the resident pulled out his handgun when he spotted two men attempting to break into vehicles.
One of the suspects also brandished a gun. No shots were fired, and the suspects fled.
The same stolen vehicle was used less than 24 hours later in an attempted vehicle burglary in Goodlettsville. In that case, one of the suspects opened fire on a man who was attempting to stop the burglary.
Metro police say auto theft in Davidson County is up 87.4 percent year-to-date. So far in 2017, 1,259 vehicles have been stolen, compared to 672 at this time last year.
Police say a contributing factor are groups of young men who are going around town, searching for parking lots and checking door handles for unlocked vehicles.
“As these folks are trying door handles, getting in and rummaging, if they find keys, they are taking these vehicles,” said Metro police spokeswoman Kristin Mumford. “And these vehicles have been stolen and known to be used in other crimes.”
Police also urge people not to leave firearms in cars overnight, as stolen guns are also used in crimes.