COVINGTON — AN online connection that led to a meeting between a man and a woman in Covington on Sept. 23 ended with the man being kidnapped and forced to take money out of an ATM at gunpoint. The victim was able to escape from his captors and ran to a nearby convenience store for assistance.

Tips and investigative work by the Covington Police Department resulted in the arrest of three males suspects and one female suspect on Sept. 26. All have been charged with kidnapping, armed robbery and aggravated assault.

According to reports, officers responded to the Quik Trip on Ga. Highway 142 at 1:23 a.m. on Sept. 23 in reference to an armed robbery call. When they arrived, they found the victim bleeding from cuts on his head and foot.

The man told them he had met a female on a website called ‘BLK’ and began talking with her. He said he traveled from his home in DeKalb County to meet her at a residence in Covington. The victim said he wasn’t familiar with Covington and didn’t know the name of the road where the house was located.

He said while he and the woman were talking, three men came from the rear of the residence with black or dark blue bandanas over their faces. One of them pulled out a small black handgun and demanded his money.

The victim said he told them he didn’t have any but could go to a Wells Fargo ATM to get some. He was made to get into the backseat of his white Dodge Journey between two of the males and held at gunpoint. The third male sat in the front passenger seat and the female drove all of them to the Wells Fargo ATM on Highway 142.

He gave his bank card and password to one of the suspects, who got out of the car to get cash from the ATM. He said there was only one suspect left in the backseat with him, and he began fighting the suspect for the gun.

The victim said he was able to get the gun away during the fight and kept pulling on the trigger, but the gun did not fire. The suspects were punching and hitting him, trying to get the weapon back, and when it fell to the ground, the gun went off.

The victim said he managed to get out of the vehicle and ran next door to the Quik Trip seeking help. He said the suspects took off in his vehicle with his cellphone, wallet and some cash.

The man said his Journey has a GPS on it and police were able to ping its location. They found the vehicle empty at the corner of Wheat Street and Industrial Boulevard.

The victim gave descriptions of two of the suspects. The female was described as black with long hair in a short ponytail. One of the males was described as a black skinny male with short hair, possibly between 18 and 25 years old. He could not describe the other two as they had the bandanas over their faces.

Covington Police issued a BOLO for the suspects with a surveillance photo of the one at the ATM. On Sept. 26, they received an anonymous tip online with the first name of the suspect and where he possibly lived. Further investigation identified the suspect as a juvenile and he was arrested.

Investigators were also able to identify and arrest the other three suspects. They have been identified as:

♦ Nicholas Makel Shafer, 18, of Porterdale.

♦ De’Andre Cornelius Smith, 18, of Covington.

♦ Ikaria Shai’ron Washington, 23, of Covington.

The Covington Police expressed thanks to the community for the tips they received that led to identifying all the suspects.

Senior Reporter

Born and raised in Decatur, Ga. Graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. in 1979 with B.A. in Communications. Worked in community newspapers for 26 years. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016.