MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WKRN) — Murfreesboro police are preparing for a spike in car break-ins now that it’s summer. However, the department already saw 344 incidents from January to May, putting the city on track to potentially beat last year’s total of 663 cases.
Sgt. Tommy Massey with the Murfreesboro Police Department told News 2 most of the thieves are minors, often searching for guns to commit more crimes.
“We had a case a few weeks ago out of one of our local hotels where we had six vehicles that were broken into, which was kind of an anomaly because they were all large-sized pickups, and I think they were looking for folks that might have had handguns in them, which they did get lucky and they got two out of the six,” Massey said.
The majority of the cars broken into in Murfreesboro were left unlocked, making it easy for the criminals to access.
However, some car owners are practically inviting the thieves to steal their car by leaving the key fob inside their vehicle or inside their home within close enough range to the car, according to Massey.
In Nashville, one car burglar appeared to have taken it a step further in July 2022, when they were seen on surveillance video using a device to connect to the signal from a nearby key fob to unlock the car.
In some cases, according to Massey, thieves can create a new key altogether.
“There was a locksmith who was recently robbed in Nashville down off Murfreesboro Road where they came in blatantly in the afternoon and robbed him of the computer because they’re able to get into these cars, plug into the brain of the vehicle, and within about 30 seconds they can clone the key to it, and then they’re gone,” Massey said.
Even though no area of Murfreesboro is off limits when it comes to car break-ins, officers said some criminals have targeted women at trailheads and sports complexes, knowing they will likely leave their purse inside their vehicle while they go exercise.
Massey told News 2 the best way to avoid becoming a victim is to lock your car, remove any valuable items, and store the key fob far enough away from the vehicle.
If you must keep a gun inside your car, Massey recommended getting a storage box and bolting it down under the car seat to prevent the firearm from end up in the wrong hands.
“(The stolen guns) are only leading to more heinous crimes,” Massey said. “They lead to carjackings, robberies, shootings and homicides, and that’s what they want. They need the firearm to continue on into their crime sprees.”