MPD officer: Robbers preying on drivers at traffic lights

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Police are asking drivers to be alert: robbers are preying on drivers at traffic lights.

Officers said the thieves will hide, wait for you to stop, and then rob you. Recently, the suspects fired shots at two drivers, killing one.

While officers said this is a growing problem, Director Toney Armstrong doesn't agree.

"I don't want to be an alarmist and say, 'Oh my god. Now, we have this awful trend in our city,'" said Armstrong, although he admits it has happened.

Recently, a post on the Memphis Police Association's Facebook page warned people about it, saying it's "the going trend" and "to be aware of your surroundings."

WREG is told a current MPD officer wrote the post.

"I only know of two incidents and certainly, two times is too many, but I don't want to give the impression that this is some rogue group," said Armstrong.

Earlier this week, a woman told police she stopped at a red light at Prescott and Sharpe when she saw a group of men come out of no where.

She said she felt like they were surrounding her car, and when she drove off, they fired shots. One hit her steering wheel.

The same night, police said the same group of guys tried robbing another man, Kenneth Matthews, outside his home on Sharpe. They shot and killed him.

Police found Matthews' car a couple blocks over. His windows were shot out.

"A father has been taken away from his kids, his family and loved ones," said Tunya Currie, the mother of Matthews' first born.

Police when you pull up to a traffic light, make sure there's enough space between you and the next car, so you can drive off if you need to.

Armstrong said to keep your doors locked, be aware of your surroundings and let people know where you're going and when you'll be arriving.


  • B. Woods

    Violence begets violence. Instead of talking about what you would have done, do something. Raise your children correctly, give back to the community, instead of turning a blind eye to disrespect and crime…speak up. The idiots that are involved in this may be school children or a bunch of unemployed/underemployed men. This is happening too often in Memphis, TN. When I travel, I do not like to tell people where I am from. This city has a well deserved stigma attached to it. To the dummies who have already left behind their comments…YOU ALL ARE A PART OF THE PROBLEM. You cannot call yourself a man or a woman if you cannot go out and seek employment, raise your children positively, respect people for being HUMAN BEINGS and keep your EMOTIONS in check. GROW UP MEMPHIS…THIS IS GETTING OLD. I live in a city with a bunch of overgrown kids. Just because you are “Gittin’ Money” does not make you a man or a woman.

    • Don

      Just because you are “Gittin’ Money” does not make you a man or a woman.

    • gary

      I am ,have been raising my children right ,you need to tell that to all these lazy parents of the certain race that is engulfing the whole country in terrorist activities. There are jobs out there that is no excuse . These criminals are in every big city and now they are even in small towns and villages seems it is contagious and a way of living for these thugs. These parents just know how to squirt out more children then let them learn life on the streets and not at home.

    • Terrie

      Woods – one of the problems with memphis is the giving to the community is stolen so what’s the point? YOU give all YOU want, I’m moving! An overgrown kid is a bit ‘light’ don’t you think? When these 12 yr olds run around with a gun & shoot at people their mother needs to be horse whooped, period,. It’s too late to tell them how to raise their kids when you should be telling them to STOP having them. Get your head outta the sand.

  • Xerox

    Being robbed by a kid or the unemployed will not make me any less dead than being robbed by an adult, or someone that makes more money than I do.

    When city hall is full of thieves the streets will be also. If people keep electing the same ones, they’ll keep getting the same result. And before someone throws the race card, thieves come in all colors. I would rather vote in someone new and take my chances than continue giving the ones I know are going to rob us another chance.

    The best thing that could happen to Memphis is for the state to step in.

    For those that can’t or won’t leave Memphis, go armed. The police are not there to protect you. They are there to take the report.

  • Chuck Ransdell

    Does anybody at Channel 3 know how to read and spell? This was posted: “this is some rouge group.” If it’s a red blushing group, then it’s correct. Did Chief Armstrong perhaps actually say they were a ROGUE group? Totally different meaning.

  • takenobull

    What good timing. The city is crapping all over the Police officers. With no pension and no health insurance after retirement you going to part time transitional Police jobs sorta like security guards.

  • Council Clowns

    Austin PD is accepting Lateral Transfers: The Memphis PD couldn’t even begin to touch the benfits offered by the Austin PD, including a 23 year retirement at 3.2%/year–even before the heath benefits cuts.

    Police Officer 2 Year Anniversary Salary: $69,851, an officer with the same general description as the 1 Year Officer but also receives Field Training Officer pay ($2,100 per year) and Crisis Intervention Officer pay($2,100 per year) could earn $82,391 per year.
    Benefits and Pay Incentives
    •Field Training Officer $175 (monthly)
    •Crisis Intervention Officer $175(monthly)
    •Bi-Lingual Pay $175 (monthly)
    •Shift Differential Pay $300 (monthly)
    •Health Insurance
    •Long Term Disability Insurance
    •Vacation Leave 150 hours accrued yearly
    •Holidays (11)
    •Personal Holidays- 16 hours
    •Emergency Leave- 40 hours
    •Tuition Reimbursement
    •Court Overtime- Minimum 4 hours
    •On Call Compensation-8 hours per week
    •Call out from home Overtime- 3 hours minimum
    •Dental Plan/Eye Plan
    •Patrol Officers work 4 ten hour days with 3 days off
    •Life Insurance
    •Sick Leave 145.92 hours accrued yearly
    •23 year retirement plan (3.2 multiplier)
    •Clothing allowance for select units $500
    •Uniforms and associated equipment provided (including pistols)
    •Associates Degree or 60 or more college credits $100 (monthly)
    •Bachelors Degree $220 (monthly)
    •Masters Degree $300 (monthly)
    •Master Peace Officer Pay $150 (monthly)
    •15 Military Days per year
    •Sick time buyback at retirement up to 1400 hours
    •Longevity Pay- $100 per year up to 25 years (yearly)
    •Deferred Compensation Plan

    The Austin Police Retirement system pays a pension based on a minimum 23 years of service at any age for a full retirement. It is based on the following formula: Years of service (23) X multiplier (3.2%)= percentage of base salary (73.6%). Officers may stay additional years past 23 to accrue additional retirement funds with no limit. Military personnel are eligible to purchase an additional 2 years into the retirement system added on after 23 years of service with the Austin Police Department. Compared to most police departments in Texas and the United States our retirement system ranks as one of the best. Most police agencies offer a 20 year retirement at 50% of their pay.

  • gary

    Well you are going to have to treat Memphis like a war zone if you just have to go there like in Iraq at this time. ISIS terrorists set up check points and if you are not a terrorist or of their religion they kill you and your family , not much difference from the red light stops. So if you just have to go there like to a specialty hospital or whatever you need to plan your route so that you avoid all black neighborhoods and areas of high crime and I believe there is a chart somewhere that shows where the most crime is. The best bet is to avoid Memphis altogether but sometimes we have no choice so go to google maps plan your route ,be very very careful watch out for groups hanging out on corners and leave enough room between you and the other car to make an escape just in case these terrorist try to attack you BE SAFE ,if you have a permit carry an automatic pistol just in case.

  • Christine

    I hate to say it, but the District Attorney and the prosecutors are not doing a very good job. Because of the over crowding in the jails they are offering a lot of plea deals. If we want to get crime under control, we need to come up with a different way of doing things. If it were me, they would be doing the work that migrants are doing. They wood be paid a certain wage. And that wage would be divided into three parts. The first part would go to state for room and board. The second part would be for restitution to the victim or the victim’s next of kin. The last part would be set aside for the prisoner when he or she is released. If a prisoner refuse to work, he will be fed. If I were in charge, for those who refuse to work, they will be eating beans and rice every day. There are so many prisoners that have never worked a day in their life.

    • Terrie

      @ Christine-too easy! Not to mention stupid! Just who do you think would be paying them? Again, It’s not my fault they’re in jail so why would I have to pay them? Or the state? Or the victim? They need to build more prisons, let the pot dealers go, keep all the criminals that killed, or used a gun, or raped, kidnapped or terrorized, make them work the fields and grow their food, take away all amenities, and when fights break out, watch it. Let them kill each other. They’ll be doing the prison a favor.

  • Not_hanging_around_ in_the_dark

    Whenever I come to redlights at night and I end up having to wait by myself in the dark you can bet I’m not going to wait for the light to turn green just so I can follow the law to the “T”. I’m going to prudently proceed through the redlight as long as no other cars are obviously coming. This situation usually happens later at night and I see people constantly in this situation just sitting there in the dark like a sitting duck. I wonder how many drivers become victimized/carjacked like this by the asshat criminal hiding in the dark near the intersection waiting for the easy opportunity?!

  • Wild Bill

    Memphis has been Rogue Negro Town for the last 25 years. The last time we stayed there, we were up half the night counting gun shots in the distance!

    • whoyoukiddin

      Wow Wild Bill I would just love to know where you stayed in Memphis that you were up half the night counting gunshots. Most people who stay in Memphis don’t stay where there are gunshots because there are not hotels in those areas. So don’t be talking bad about our city when you really don’t know what you are talking about in the first place. Oh and if you did stay where you say you did I would suggest staying somewhere else.

  • Wild Bill

    And BTW, it was the SECOND time we stayed up counting gunshots, and probably our 10th time visiting Elvisland.

  • Wild Bill

    IN ADDITION—we have stayed probably four times in Memphis in the last 10 years, and every time, local shopkeepers warned us not to wander more than a block off of Beale Street after dark. We never had an incident, but that alone has always told us to beware of our surroundings when visiting.

  • tiredofnonsense

    reading the comments and smh. you racists pricks are always talking about black people like we’re the only race that rob, steal and murder. lets not forget who were the originals. but i’m not here for that, the city leaders are useless and they just help themselves. what since does it make cutting people we need, it’s like they want this city to fail on purpose. if we want things to change we as a city and community have to do things ourselves to better the place we leave. it’s clear who is most important to this city and its not the citizens. even when you raise your kids up right, they can still go down the wrong path from time to time. reality is you have to protect what is yours and do away with the criminals, all of them including the white ones that they think don’t exists. smh people

  • Wild Bill

    Racist or realist? I experienced what I experienced, first hand, and what I said is ABSOLUTELY true. And “the truth will set you free”. Memphis ain’t disneyland. End of story.

  • Wild Bill

    And to “tired”… talk what you will about realism and racism, but the only time in my life I was robbed was by a black guy (at knife point), and not in Memphis but Chicago.

    The truth will set you free.


    Attention potential robbers…….I drive a white, 2014 Jeep Patriot. If you come running up to my car, you better well hope that you get off an accurate shot. I will be carrying (legally of course) and I will be obliged to shoot each and every one of you dead. I would rather be judged by twelve than carried out by six. Consider this a fair warning. By the way, where are all of the anti gun people jumping on here wondering how the bad guys got guns ???? Just sayin……

  • susan

    I lived in Memphis and the surrounding areas all my life until my husband and I couldn’t tolerate it anymore. We moved to another state earlier this year and could not be happier. Get out while you can.

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