Sunday and Monday consecutive armed robberies in Mt. Juliet proper may be "bleed overs" from Nashville area crimes, police say.
Mt. Juliet Police detectives continue to investigate these armed robberies and there is a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects, said MJPD spokesperson Tyler Chandler.
A woman in the parking lot of the south Mt. Juliet Publix had a gun pointed at her as a man stole her purse on Sunday. Then, on Monday a pizza delivery driver was robbed by an armed teen with a similar description in the 2700 block of Leesa Ann Lane in the Hickory Hills subdivision. The first suspect(s) escape vehicle was a maroon Chrysler Town & Country minivan. In the subdivision, the suspect(s) used a black Volvo SUV to get away, said Chandler.
"A lot of the recent armed robberies in Hermitage and Old Hickory seem to be connected to the same suspects in Mt. Juliet," Chandler said.
There were also some reported armed robberies in the Gladeville area in this time frame as well. Also, on Monday a woman was robbed outside of her Hermitage apartment. News reports say she was talking to a neighbor when a young black teen walked up, pointed a gun and demanded her purse. Another robbery in Metro near Wilson County happened to yet another pizza delivery driver on the job on Arbor Lake Boulevard. The method of operation was the same; fleeing on foot with the goods and jumping into a hidden vehicle to escape. Police are trying to figure out if these are all related. Chandler said all the victims reported the weapon as a hand gun.
"The suspects all seem the same in Mt. Juliet," Chandler said. "They are thin, black teens with hoodies, with the hood up. Some descriptions are the same in Metro."
Chandler stressed these suspects identify subjects alone, not in a business where there are surveillance cameras, usually.
"They look and spot an individual and point a gun at them and get the purse or money and run off and get into a nearby getaway vehicle," he said.
MJPD detectives are collaborating with other agencies to solve these cases.
"They seem to be swapping out different vehicles," he said. "But, are possibly the same suspects."
Chandler said these crimes are a "bleed" from Metro and most happen during the day with people not aware of their surroundings.
Is Mt. Juliet still a safe community?
Chandler said, "yes."
"These people come over to Mt. Juliet to try things," he said. "Our city is not immune to crime. We try to educate people on what to look for and to be aware."
Chandler said the department looked at the stats and in 2006 there was more crime in the city, with a lesser population.
"Now we are bigger," he said. "The stats say we are safer now, and numbers growing doesn't lead to more crime. Our crime rate remains low with all our growth."
Chandler said there is more "active communication" and more people are aware of what's going on these days. He said people out and about need to be aware of what's going on around them.
"It's best they don't fight back," Chandler said if an incident arises. "That can promote more violence."
When shopping he said leave the purse secure and hidden and only carry in your credit card and identification. If someone feels uneasy and things are out of place, notify the police and get away from the area.
"The community is our eyes and ears," he said. "If someone sees something suspicious, call us."
A multi-prong investigation is ongoing to catch the suspects of these latest armed robberies.