HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — On June 3, a two-day stakeout at a Hendersonville Home Depot pays dividends as Hendersonville police arrest two alleged serial shoplifters red-handed.
Investigators call the duo serial shoplifters because they allegedly hit the Hendersonville Home Depot eight times between April 30 and June 3.
Police say the duo, now identified as 49-year-old William Brown Jr. and 55-year-old Joseph Charette, both of Nashville, walked away with more than $5,000 worth of expensive tools and equipment during that two-month stealing spree.
Police say the Nashville men sold the power tools to pawn shops to fuel a drug habit.
While the arrest appears random, it’s anything but. Police say the arrest is the result of a crime fighting technique known as ‘predictive policing.’
Sgt. Christopher Gagnon says there’s a deep sense of satisfaction when a good plan leads to an arrest that takes criminals off the street.
“It is wonderful. The ability to take the information on the previous cases we’ve had and utilize the information, and then set up on an operation and take them down and put an end to the crime as it occurs. This is what predictive policing is all about.”‘
News 2 has obtained investigative footage that shows the two suspects setting up in the parking lot and walking out with expensive equipment without paying.
Police say it happened on eight different days. Each time, police were able to use information from the crime and build a statistical model of when the duo might return to strike again.
In one video, Brown is stealing a pressure washer and backpack blower totaling $848. He walks to the return counter, and then just pushes his cart out the door to meet with Charette.
Another video shows the 49-year-old pushing a $549 lawn mower right out of the store.
On June 3, the day of the takedown, Sgt. Gagnon says the officers were excited, and the alleged criminals shocked.
“There was some described excitement from the officers, and the individuals taken into custody, they were stunned that officers were there.”
Sgt. Gagnon says, in some ways, predictive policing is scientific or even mathematical crime fighting.
“It definitely takes statistics into consideration, and we work those statistics to our advantage. In this particular case, we were looking at a shoplifting event, we look at the days the times, the M.O. the suspects are using. We look at current trends, how they fence the property, and what they might be doing in overcoming security measures. And we use all that to make an educated guess what we can do to prevent this from happening in the future.”
Hendersonville Police say the two men have a dozen charges between them for the alleged crime spree, and other jurisdictions like Metro Nashville have active warrants pending for similar cases in other cities.
If you have any information on this or other cases, you’re asked to contact the Hendersonville Police Department at (615) 264-5303 or Hendersonville Crime Stoppers at (615) 573-5400. Tips can also be submitted via text to 274637 (CRIMES) using keyword TIPHPD.