Police: Three area Lowe's stores hit by thieves

(WBIR-Newport) Three different East Tennessee police departments are investigating thefts at their area Lowe's stores, and now it appears the cases are connected.

"We feel like this is a couple that's been traveling all over East Tennessee committing these burglaries," Newport Police Chief Maurice Shults said Friday. The store on the Cosby Highway appeared to be the first location hit by these criminals.

"Thieves -- they have been getting a quick sale item, which is a DeWalt tool set -- those will move on any construction site," the chief added.

This happened three times, according to various police departments: the Newport location on September 12, the Morristown location on September 16, and the Sevierville location on September 18.

All three cases, two men -- one with noticeable tattoos -- walked into the store, went to the DeWalt items, and walked out.

Shults said these powertools are hard to track, making them hot items to these thieves.

If an employee tried to stop them, the criminals would threaten them with an alleged weapon. In one police report, a suspect told an employee, "I will blow your face off if you don't get out of my way."

"They indicated that they had a weapon, but no one saw the weapon," Chief Shults said.

The men, reportedly, drove away in a black 4-wheel drive BMW with Georgia tags.

"Of what they look like and what they're driving and hopefully we can get the assistance of the public to get these people off the streets before they do resort to violence," Shults said.

All together, more than $3,000 was taken from the three stores.

Previous Story: (WBIR-Sevierville) Police are investigating an armed shoplifting incident at a Sevierville Lowe's store Wednesday afternoon.

A Lowe's employee told authorities he asked two men leaving the store with power tools to show a receipt just after 12:30 p.m. One of the men allegedly lifted his shirt, revealing a handgun tucked in his pants waistband. He then allegedly told the employee, "Here's my receipt" and took off in a black BMW sedan.

We're still investigating this incident. We'll bring you the latest developments on wbir.com and 10News.


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