3 men accused in more than 300 car break-ins, 60-70 vandalism ca - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

3 men accused in more than 300 car break-ins, 60-70 vandalism cases

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CORDOVA, TN -

(WMC-TV) - Three people have been arrested in connection with an estimated 300 car break-ins and between 60 and 70 car vandalisms from across Shelby County over the past six months.

Thomas Ziegler, 18, and Benjamin Kirksey, 20, and a third person, who is a juvenile, face multiple criminal charges.

Shelby County sheriff's deputies say they caught all three in possession of stolen items from various car break-ins, as well as cans of spray paint.

Investigators say the trio sprayed vulgar graffiti on at least four cars earlier this week at a Cordova apartment complex. Investigators say they also implicated themselves in the more than 300 car break-ins and car vandalisms.

Mike Sanders inherited his Grand Marquis from his late father.

"Family keepsake, so to speak," he said. "George Washington Sanders, came from a patriotic family."

But earlier this week, Sanders found his car had been tagged with graffiti.

"It was a swastika, which is a Nazi symbol and I'm not a supporter of the Nazis in any way," he explained. "And there was an obscene word up here with an arrow pointing in here."

The three men arrested are believed to have been the ones behind hundreds of break-ins and vandalism cases stretching from Bartlett, East Memphis, Cordova, and beyond since summertime.

"When you commit crimes like this and then you infringe on our personal properties, which is our vehicles, then you must pay for the crimes that you commit," said Chip Washington, Shelby County Sheriff's Office.

Sanders painted over his driver's side door and hood as quickly as possible.

"I'm pleased that it looks a lot better than it did, because it was embarrassing," he said.

But nothing can cover up his frustration.

"I don't take it personal, but it's still disappointing that our young people are doing this," added Sanders. "We all work hard and try to do right. You know, something like this happens when we're minding our own business."

Shelby County Sheriff's Office asks anyone who thinks they may have been victimized in this case to call them at 901-222-5600 as they try to sort through the sheer volume of incidents and recovered items.

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