MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two teenagers are facing multiple charges after they were arrested in connection with break-ins at auto dealerships, a repair shop and a rental lot recently.
The incidents were separate, but both were arrested Tuesday on similar charges.
Tony Miller, 18, was charged with auto theft $10,000-60,000, burglary, property theft, unlawful possession of a weapon, vandalism, evading arrest and other charges after two auto dealership break-ins in southeast Memphis.
Police said seven males broke into Gossett Volkswagen Germantown on Winchester Road around 11 Monday night. One was seen on surveillance video swinging a golf club around the lot. The office was ransacked and several vehicles in the showroom were entered, but no vehicles were taken from Gossett.
An hour later, officers responded to an alarm at the Mazda dealership a short distance away on Winchester. They found the front gate damaged, offices ransacked and a Mazda still running with damage to the driver’s side.
Police said five Mazda, Toyota and Honda vehicles had been stolen from the dealership.
Around 3 a.m. Tuesday, police were called to Plainview Street, just east of Tobey Park near the Fairgrounds, where they said six males were walking from vehicles to a house on Higbee. Police ordered them to stop, and they ran.
Miller was found by police as he hid in a backyard. Police said he had the keys to a stolen Toyota in his pocket.
Police said they also found two assault rifles and a stolen handgun in the house where the group was seen running.
Miller confessed to stealing the Toyota from the Mazda dealership and was identified as the person swinging the golf club at the Volkswagen dealership, police said. They said five others were identified as being at the dealerships.
Teenager charged with stealing 11 vehicles
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An 18-year-old is accused of stealing 11 vehicles valued at nearly a quarter-million dollars in July.
Dionte Sharp turned himself in to police Tuesday. He is charged with burglary and theft $60,000-250,000.
Memphis Police said Sharp was one of the suspects who broke into Pro Auto on Elmore Road on July 1. A total of seven vehicles were taken from the lot that night, and one suspect with a distinctive leg tattoo was caught on surveillance video.
That night, police said officers spotted Sharp crouching behind some vehicles on the lot with a phone in his hand, but he told officers he had lost his phone and was there looking for it. He was not taken into custody.
A few hours later the next day, four vehicles were taken from an Avis lot on Germantown Parkway.
One of those cars was later found, and when police dusted it for fingerprints, they say they found a match to Sharp. Police said a Crime Stoppers tip also pointed to Sharp in connection to the two burglaries.
Police say he admitted to stealing the car from the Avis lot and investigators connected him to the Auto Pro theft through his leg tattoo.
Police say collectively the teens stole cars costing anywhere between $10,000 and $250,000.
Part of recent trend
These break-ins are among several at auto dealers acround Memphis recently, often committed by teenagers, police and dealers say.
Last week, a group of suspects was caught on video driving cars out the front doors of the Mercedes of Memphis dealership on Poplar Avenue.