Caught on video: Driver narrowly avoids robbery in Lakeland

LAKELAND, Tenn. — The moment a man avoided an attempted robbery with a split-second decision Saturday morning in Lakeland was captured on dash cam and doorbell cameras. The driver can be seen throwing his car in reverse then making a U-turn after a car and a man on foot rush at him.

The driver, who requested his name not be published, said the incident happened at about 6:30 a.m. in the East Stonebridge neighborhood.

He said he is glad he made it out with his life, and he never thought something like that could happen to him.

“When you see it on the news, and it’s somebody else, it’s not real,” he said. “It’s a video game, entertainment, TV. You see it all the time.”

The dash cam video of the scary moment shows his car driving on Bramblebush Lane when a car cuts him off. He puts his car in reverse, but the suspicious car stays on his bumper until a man gets out of the car and begins running toward him.

“I have no idea what they wanted,” he said. “I didn’t know if they wanted my wallet, if they wanted my car, or if they wanted me dead.”

Doorbell footage of the attempted robbery shows him backing his car up into a person’s yard, turning around and flying out of the neighborhood as the would-be robbers close in.

“Who knows what could have happened?” the driver said. “I honestly don’t know, but I’m just grateful that they didn’t pursue and that they let me get away. If they had wanted me dead, I’d be dead.”

The attempted robbery was the talk of the neighborhood. Some neighbors even witnessed the incident.

“Heard a ruckus, opened up the window and took a peek,” a neighbor said. “There were two cars. One was going backwards, the other was going forwards and there was a kid out in the street.”

The neighbor said he had seen the suspicious car outside his house before and watched as the driver escaped.

“It bothers me a lot. You try to do right and do well by people and folks come try this on you,” he said. “I’m a very quiet person and I don’t like to bother with anything, but you’ve brought the fight to my front door and I don’t like it at all.”

The driver said he spoke out and shared the videos of the incident because he wants people to be aware of some of the methods carjackers or robbers could use.

“There was no question they meant business,” he said. “They were scary, I was scared. They were smart, they knew what they were doing, they were armed.”

He said the men were parked at a curve on a residential street, which made backing up difficult. They had their high beams on, which meant he could not see the road behind him and had to follow it from memory.

The driver said when the suspicious car cornered him, there was a brick mailbox to his left and a fire hydrant to his right which made hopping the curve to go around impossible.

“I wanted people to see what was happening, the tactics that were used,” he said.

Neighbors said they will have their heads on swivels after the incident, and that deputies patrolled the neighborhood and interviewed witnesses following the attempted crime.

The attempted robbery is one of several crimes the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office began investigating in the Lakeland area Saturday morning.

The Sheriff’s Office said it was investigating after a person was shot and killed on Breezy Shore Cove, about two miles from the attempted robbery. Investigators said no suspects have been taken in and the investigation is ongoing.

A couple of blocks from that shooting, security cameras captured two people checking the door of a parked car.

Anyone with information on the shooting, car break-ins or carjacking is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH or share video on the Shelby County Sheriff Office’s website.