This week in Crime Stoppers, it is a string of car burglaries in the Highway 153 area. Police believe one guy is the culprit. "He's hit numerous places," said Chattanooga Police Detective Charles Petty. "I don't know how many he's done."
He shows his experience as he quickly uses the stolen loot and exits whichever store he has gone to, in full view of surveillance cameras. "As he's leaving, he puts both hands up towards his face to block the view of the camera," Det. Perry explained.
In this case, we focus on one of his crimes, this one at Rush Fitness on Highway 153. He smashed the window of a woman's car, took her purse, then ran to the Brainerd Walmart to use her card. "I think he was wanting to put some distance between himself and where he actually broke into the vehicle," Det. Perry added, "just in case the victim had already reported the card stolen."
No need for this guy to decipher PINs or security. He simply ran the card ascredit. "Just sign a squiggly line is usually what you end up with on the receipt," Petty added."
These are not necessarily equal-opportunity crimes. A ladies purse or handbag is always an attractive target. "Please, take it in," pleaded the detective, "lock it in a lock box, lock it somewhere. Do not leave anything of value in the vehicle."
Do not think hiding your handbag under a jacket or wedging it underneath your seat is fool-proof, either. If a crook is watching the parking lot and sees a woman enter a gym, for example, empty-handed or carrying only her car keys, he has a pretty good idea she has left her purse in her vehicle. "It takes less than three seconds for them to get into the vehicle and grab a purse," said Petty.
Our surveillance photos show a while male around 5'10" with a thin to medium build and brown or black hair. He always wears a hat usually either a camouflage or Browning ball cap. The only other distinguishing characteristic is that he wears bright orange or red colored shoes. One other clue is someone may have seen what he drives. "We did have a witness that observed a tan vehicle, 4-door," explained Petty, "older model."
Put the clues together, phone in a tip, help end or at least pause his string of burglaries, and earn yourself some reward cash. Up to $1,000 is on the table. Call Crime Stoppers at (423) 698-3333
A police officer may answer the phone or return your call, but he will never ask your identity.