Brighton police arrest high school vehicle thief

BRIGHTON, TN (WMC-TV) - Brighton High is the only Tipton County school on Highway 51, and officials are saying its easy access is the reason it is a target for criminals.

Since late August, a still picture is about the only clue Brighton police have had in trying to solve a series of car break-ins in the parking lot at the school.

"Stereos, CD's... things like that they could find. Anything of value," said Brighton police officer Tim Moncier.

But Tuesday, an assistant principal caught the suspect in the act.  Police arrested Kenneth Wirt and charged him with theft, burglary, and vandalism.

They hauled his car to the police department, where they found several stolen items inside.

School resource officer Pat Kimbley said increased surveillance and patrols led to the arrest.

"The students are very alert, (and) the teachers, but we do have a high visibility right here on the highway," Kimbley said.

During Brighton's football game last Friday, another car was broken into and one car was stolen. Police don't believe these incidents are related to Tuesday's arrest.

"I guess we're going to have to put more focus on the parking lot than the actual game," Moncier said. "It's sad people can't just watch a game."

Brighton High principal Kathryn Roe said her focus is on educating students.

"It certainly does make us upset to know that parents have sent their children to us, but we're going to do everything we can to correct that situation," said Roe.

A situation officials hope is now behind them.

Police said to always lock your car door, set your alarm, and if you notice your car has
been broken into, don't touch it.

If you have any information on the most recent car break-in and theft, call Brighton Police at 901-475-6732.

Click here to e-mail Justin Hanson.