Victim in roadside iPad scam charged after chase, gunfire - WSMV Channel 4

Victim in roadside iPad scam charged after chase, gunfire

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Thanh Tran (Photo from Goodlettsville PD) Thanh Tran (Photo from Goodlettsville PD)
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -

Technology can be expensive, so naturally a deal for iPads pitched in a gas station parking lot might be too good to be true.

In one case, it was, but the victim of that phony iPad scheme is the one facing charges.

The victim thought he was buying an iPad, only to get a cheap framed mirror instead. Police said the salesmen in this scheme, from Mississippi, do this all over the South. However, they aren't facing charges.

Instead, the man they ripped off in Nashville does, because he decided to take justice into his own hands.

"It's got the icons on it. It's got the price," Goodlettsville Police Chief Richard Pope said about the package.

But Thanh Tran was not about to let the roadside salesmen get away with their scheme.

"Because somebody got mad, they want to follow them somewhere else. To get their revenge, I guess you could say. But at the end of the day, it was unnecessary," said witness William Cothron.

The Nashville man made the $300 deal at Interstate 65 and Harding Place in south Nashville late Tuesday. Once he realized the rip off, he followed the salesmen all the way to a gas station in Goodlettsville.

There, at a Raceway station, the situation escalated when Tran - according to police - confronted the salesmen, pulled a gun and fired at least four times.

One of the bullets hit the salesmen's rented vehicle.

"You know, there was no aiming. He was just shooting," Cothron said.

Cothron and his fiancee happened be driving by and found themselves in the middle of it all.

Cothron works as a sheriff's deputy and took fast action, mainly for the sake of his kids in the backseat.

"'Daddy mode comes into play. And I'm making sure my kids are protected, make sure she's protected. I get them down. I stop the vehicle and I tell her to call 911," Cothron said.

Police caught Tran and soon discovered warrants in Nashville.

The chief seems to believe that may have been why Tran didn't call police in the first place.

Now, it appears taking action into his own hands may have cost him more trouble than it was worth.

"These types of things keep us in business, obviously. And if he would have just simply filed a report in Metro, he also wouldn't be in jail at this time," Pope said.

Tran faces a single count of aggravated assault, but other charges could follow as the case develops.

Incidentally, police could not charge the salesmen for fraud, because the alleged sale did not happen in Sumner County.

It happened in Nashville, so Goodlettsville police plan to pass the details along to Metro's fraud unit.

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