DOJ Seal

Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Middle District of Tennessee

For Immediate Release

Tuesday, May 26, 2020
Donald Q. Cochran
, United States Attorney
Contact: David Boling

Nashville Man Facing Federal Firearms Charge in Elaborate Detention Center Plot

NASHVILLE, Tenn – May 26, 2020 – A Nashville man is facing a federal firearms charge after an elaborate scheme to hide caches of weapons inside the Davidson County Downtown Detention Center (DDC), announced U.S. Attorney Don Cochran for the Middle District of Tennessee. 

An 11-page criminal complaint filed today, charged Alexander Friedmann, 51, with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.  The complaint detailed allegations of an elaborate scheme carried out by Friedmann during which he hid a variety of weapons and accessories in the DDC while it was under construction. 

According to the complaint, in late December 2019, while preparing for the January 2020 opening of the facility, Davidson County Sherriff’s Office (DCSO) employees discovered two keys missing from the facility’s key control room.  A review of video surveillance footage revealed that an individual, dressed in clothing consistent with facility construction workers, had entered the room and taken two keys to secure areas of the facility.  On January 4, 2020, the same individual, now identified as Friedmann, was located on the property.  Friedmann was wearing a yellow reflective vest, a hard hat, protective gloves, and a dust mask covering his face.  Friedmann told DCSO employees he was there working but it was determined that he was not employed by the construction company or any of its contractors. Friedmann was detained by the DCSO, and subsequently arrested by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department.  At the time of his arrest, Friedmann had a hand drawn schematic of a portion of the DDC, which he attempted to destroy by chewing up and swallowing.

A subsequent review of historical surveillance footage determined that beginning in August 2019, an individual dressed as a construction worker and alleged to be Friedmann, entered the facility on at least 10 occasions, sometimes accompanied by an accomplice who acted as a lookout.  The individual was observed on video on several occasions removing material from the expansion joints in block walls and caulk from window areas, after which he placed items inside and covered the joints with another material.  On other occasions, he was observed checking different parts of the facility and making notes.  Based on the video evidence, a search of the identified areas of the facility was conducted on February 10, 2020 and investigators recovered three handguns, ammunition, handcuff keys, razor blades and other items. 

Subsequent investigation determined that Friedmann owned a condominium in a complex in Nashville and contracted an individual to build a 200 square foot fire-proof storage area in a basement area of one of the buildings.  This storage area was constructed out of concrete block.  When law enforcement executed a search warrant at this location on March 13, 2020, it appeared that this room was used as a practice facility.  Investigators noticed several inconsistencies in the mortar joints of the block walls, similar to what had been discovered earlier at the DDC.  It was also determined that Friedmann had recently moved several locked storage crates from the room to a friend’s house on Whites Creek Pike in Joelton, Tennessee. 

On March 20, 2020, a search warrant was executed at the Joelton location and investigators recovered several crates, which contained 21 firearms, including assault rifles, handguns, shotguns and a 37mm launcher.           

Friedmann has been convicted of prior felonies, including armed robbery; assault with intent to commit first degree murder; and attempted aggravated robbery.  If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison on the current charge. 

This case was investigated by the FBI; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & explosives; the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department and the Davidson County Sheriff’s Office.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Rob McGuire is prosecuting the case. 

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation.  The defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. 

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Nashville Field Division