For the second week in a row, Hendersonville police summoned members of the media to police headquarters on Friday to announce the arrests of another batch of Nashville teens traveling to Hendersonville to commit sometimes violent crimes.
In the third such announcement in less than a month, police said they charged earlier that day five Nashville teens ages 13 to 17, with a laundry list of crimes including aggravated burglary, burglary to an automobile, evading arrest, theft, possession of a firearm and possession of stolen property.
The arrests brought to 12 the number of mostly juvenile suspects arrested and charged by police for crimes that included a string of car and home burglaries as well as two high-profile car-jackings on June 6 and 7.
With the arrests, police have solved more than 50 cases in multiple jurisdictions, including Hendersonville and Nashville, according to HPD Det. Sgt. Jim Vaughn.
At least some of the five teens Hendersonville police arrested July 7 were believed to have been involved in four violent crimes in Nashville on July 6, according to Metro Nashville police.
In the first case at 11 p.m., shots were fired at a couple on Fowler Street in Old Hickory from a white Toyota Camry. A 39-year-old woman was injured in that incident.
Police say that at 11:15 p.m., individuals in a blue Honda Accord were car-jacked on Saunders Avenue in the Madison area after a white Toyota Camry cut them off. The gunman drove off in the Accord, which was followed by the white Camry.
In the third case, a person reported that he was driving on Douglas Avenue near Second Avenue North at around 11:45 p.m. when a white Toyota Camry pulled in front of him causing him to stop. The driver of the Camry pointed a pistol at the victim and demanded that he get out of his car. The victim sped away uninjured and heard shots.
In the fourth crime at 12:35 a.m., a woman who arrived at her Cheyenne Boulevard apartment reported seeing a white Toyota Camry parked near a dumpster. As she began walking to her home, the Camry blocked her car in the parking space. The woman ran into her apartment and heard gunfire. She was not hurt.
At around 8:25 a.m. on July 7, HPD responded to a residential burglary in progress in the area of VeeBelt and Lakeside Park Drive. After a police pursuit, the suspect vehicle crashed and the suspects fled on foot, according to Hendersonville police. One of the juveniles was injured in the crash and was taken to the hospital.
Police caught two of the juveniles a short distance from the crash scene and another about a mile away.
At about the time of the chase police issued a Code Red alert telling residents to be on the look-out for the remaining suspect. Vaughn credited alert citizens who called in to police for the suspect's capture.
"It's quite possible we wouldn't have caught that last individual if area residents hadn't helped out," said Vaughn. "It's refreshing to have that many eyes helping us out."
Police later determined that a juvenile visiting at the home that was being burglarized had conspired with the other four to burglarize the home, according to Vaughn.
Hendersonville police recovered two stolen guns and three stolen vehicles in the arrest: the crashed BMW had been stolen from Nashville; the Toyota Camry Nashville police were seeking and a silver Honda that was stolen in Hendersonville on July 6 in the Chesapeake Harbor subdivision.
Disturbing trend hits the city
"There appears to be a trend of juveniles who have been involved in serious crimes coming from Nashville to Hendersonville," said Vaughn. "We'd like to make it clear that if you come to Hendersonville and commit these crimes, we're going to do everything possible to bring you to justice."
Vaughn said police will ask the Sumner County District Attorney's office to charge some of the suspects as adults. A juvenile court judge will have to rule on the request.
While all of the suspects have been caught in these recent crimes, police urge residents to remain vigilant by locking their vehicles and placing valuables out of sight.
"Sometimes our citizens feel safe so they don't always lock their doors, or they leave valuables in their cars," said HPD Detective Neal Harris. "[The criminals] are going where they think they have an easy victim."
Police have not released the names of the juveniles charged.