Be wary of who is behind that badge.
That’s the warning issued by Kingston’s police chief after badges, handcuffs, pepper spray and possibly even police uniforms were stolen recently from a local police supply store.
The items, stolen from A-1 Tactical on 901 E. Race St. late last week, were described as “police-specific in nature,” and included six pair of handcuffs, four Tennessee Highway Patrol chaplain badges, two flashlights and 20 Freeze+P (pepper spray) keychain units.
Kingston Police Chief Jim Washam is concerned about what was taken, especially since the thieves ignored a cash register with money in it and the key in the lock to open it. Also left behind were computers and a gun cabinet.
Washam said the stolen badges are a concern, and he fears someone might try to misuse them.
“If you get pulled over, you’re going to be focused on the badge and not what it says,” Washam said. “Until we get this solved, everybody should be on their toes and stay vigilant on what was stolen and just be extra careful.”
He advised people to get to a well-lit area if someone tries to pull them over at night.
“They can also call 911, and see if there’s someone (official) actually trying to get them to pull over,” he said.
“There is a possibility of full uniform sets taken, as well, as the owners were moving merchandise to another store location,” the police report said. Authorities said the perpetrators made entry through a back door of the business and took about $1,321 worth of merchandise.
Washam said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been notified about the break-in because police items were taken.
“We’re working on it very hard, trying to locate these items and get someone in jail for it,” Washam said. He said the THP and the Federal Bureau of Investigation also are involved in the investigation.
The store is owned by Scott D. Arms, according to police reports.
While no arrests have been made, police do have one strong clue, according to the police report: the perpetrators left two distinct boot or shoe prints on the back door.
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