FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WTVF) — Four men are behind bars after police stopped a brazen robbery at the Cool Springs Galleria.
Police body camera video captured the masked men smashing glass display cases inside the store with sledgehammers in an attempt to steal diamond jewelry around 8 p.m. on Saturday.
One suspect fought an officer who tried to arrest him, and tried to grab the officer's gun in the fight. One suspect pepper-sprayed an employee during the incident, but no one else was hurt. The entire ordeal happened while the store was open and customers and employees watched.
"The video you see is a prime example of the uncertainty and risk officers face on a daily basis," said Lt. Charlie Warner with the Franklin Police Department.
Three suspects took off as the driver and the suspect who fought an officer were both arrested. Dozens of additional officers teamed up to arrest the other two suspects. Detectives are working to identify one remaining suspect who was able to get away.
All four suspects have been charged with Aggravated Robbery, Felony Vandalism, and Evading Arrest. Dunterious Traylor, who fought the officer who tried to arrest him, is facing the additional charge of Assault on a First Responder.
Officers were able to respond to the scene quickly due to a tip from an employee at nearby Jared Jewelers. The employee saw one of the suspects enter the store wearing a hoodie, surgical mask, hat and sunglasses, and alerted police.
Nearby undercover officers were able to follow the suspect leaving the area in a van. The van then pulled up in the fire lane in front of JCPenney and they went inside.
Franklin police are currently stepping up patrols at the mall and other shopping areas in the city as part of the "Not in our mall" operation, designed to keep shoppers safe. Officers ask shoppers to continue to stay vigilant as the holiday shopping season continues.
"The message is, if you are going to do things like this, you might be better off doing it at another mall," said Lt. Warner. "We are going to continue with an aggressive fight against crime and criminals in our shopping districts."
There have been at least five similar incidents across Tennessee and Arkansas over the past several weeks. Detectives in Franklin are working with investigators from multiple agencies to determine if the suspects arrested in Franklin are responsible for other incidents, including an earlier smash-and-grab jewelry robbery at the Cool Springs Galleria Macy’s on Nov. 4.