NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WKRN) – Police have arrested a man accused of stealing seven rental cars at Nashville International Airport, and arrest reports indicate that the man, Marcquez James, has been arrested on charges similar in 2019.
The 34-year-old’s alleged crime spree began unfolding on the evening of Thursday, April 7, at Drakes Creek Park in Hendersonville.
According to Hendersonville police, James was scheduled to officiate a youth baseball game and arrived in a stolen car, a BMW SUV, stolen from Avis Rental Car.
License plate recognition cameras at the entrance to the park red flagged the stolen car and police quickly arrived and confronted James before he walked onto the ball field.
“An officer located the vehicle inside the park, saw a man dressed to officiate a baseball game. When the officer approached, he got into the vehicle and took off,” said Sgt Neal Harris of the Hendersonville Police Department said.
The Hendersonville case quickly expanded when Metro and Airport Police investigators identified James as a suspect in the theft of seven rental cars stolen from Nashville International Airport.
An affidavit of arrest says six of those stolen rental cars were discovered at a Madison auto body shop, and News 2 has learned that James is also linked to a Jan. 30 sexual assault investigation on the campus of Washington. Vanderbilt University.
An affidavit says James matches the description of the suspect seen leaving campus in a stolen BNA rental car. At this time, James has not been charged with sexual battery.
A Vanderbilt University spokesperson sent this statement to News 2:
“On Monday, January 31, 2022, the Vanderbilt University Police Department received two anonymous reports in which female students said they were groped by an unknown male in the West Garage and 25th Avenue Garage area on campus. . The VUPD Criminal Investigations Unit reviewed video camera footage of the area, located both incidents and identified a suspicious vehicle.
“After removing the license plate from the vehicle, VUPD also linked the vehicle to a reported indecent exposure at the university on January 27, 2022.
“The VUPD determined that the vehicle was registered with a rental car company at Nashville International Airport. Through coordination with airport police, VUPD identified the suspect, who was wearing the same clothing, on airport surveillance cameras returning the car. The suspect then ordered a carpool. The ride-sharing company was able to provide contact information and a drop-off location for the suspect, which led to an address in East Nashville.
“Further investigation at the scene by Metro Nashville police led to the identification and arrest of Marquez Alexander James.“
As for Marcquez James being an umpire in youth baseball? Andy Gilley, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Hendersonville writes:
“Mr. James was sent by an umpire association that serves the Bellevue Leagues and the Nashville Adult Baseball League, as well as other areas. He was recommended by that association and had never umpired here in Hendersonville in our youth leagues before.
Gilley also told News 2: “We are extremely grateful that our LPR cameras that we were able to install in our parks identified this individual and his vehicle before he even set foot on a pitch to officiate a game here. Great fast policing from our officers working around our parks. Having things like LPR cameras and a great relationship with our police department helps keep our parks and our city safe and free from bad guys like Mr. James.
“It’s worrying, I don’t know how it happens. He was working somewhere as a referee to some degree. He’s not refereeing in Hendersonville. He was a substitute. I don’t know how it happens. He has an extensive criminal record,” Sgt. Neal Harris added.
James is charged with several auto thefts in Nashville and Hendersonville; he is also charged with evading arrest and reckless endangerment.
News 2 has contacted the referees association to comment on Marcquez James’ verification. So far we have had no news.