NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Belle Meade may be the most upscale zip code in the state of Tennessee, but it isn’t immune to crime.
Investigators say they’ve seen an increase in the number of felonies involving teens and crimes in the West Nashville city.
Most recently, police say they’ve been dealing with teens stealing cars.
Buck Cole is a recent victim. On Sept. 27, he left his home only to find his Honda was gone. Police speculate the thief broke out the window and found a spare key hidden inside the car.
“It’s a shock. I’ve been parking in the same driveway for about four years … It’s a surprise. It’s so well policed,” he told News 2.
Within 24 hours, Metro police found the car outside a home in North Nashville. Inside, they found a Hillwood High School ID badge belonging to a 16-year-old boy.
Cole’s tennis racquet was also reportedly discovered at the home where the car was found.
“It’s a tragedy, a waste. I feel sorry for the child’s loved ones and family,” he said.
Thanks to the ID card, Belle Meade investigator Tom Sexton found the 16-year-old boy who reportedly confessed to not only Cole’s theft but also another that took place just weeks earlier on the same street.
“It’s alarming for any neighborhood to have a car stolen, especially by someone of such a young age,” Sexton told News 2.
According to the investigator, the teenager walked away from Department of Children’s Services custody. On two different occasions, he allegedly rode a Metro city bus to Belle Meade, walking into the upscale neighborhood, and stealing cars. He is back in DCS custody now.
Sexton says the boy could be responsible for as many as 10 auto burglaries in and around the city.
“My concern is a parent crying for help and not providing that help to them. He has run away from home five times in the last year, and he keeps getting picked up, taken home. His mom said she can’t keep him at home and we have kids running around now, that 20 years ago, we’d call the parents to come and get them and justice would be administered swiftly and quickly, and that is not the case,” he explained to News 2.
Sexton says in 20 years, Belle Meade didn’t see a crime involving a juvenile with a gun. But in the last 6 months, the veteran detective says the department has had four cases where teens had a firearm.