COVINGTON — Two DeKalb County teens who allegedly drove a stolen car to Newton County early Monday in order to break into cars have been taken into custody following a pursuit that involved three different law enforcement agencies and spanned several hours.
According to the Covington Police Department, officers tracked the GPS of a 2019 F250 super duty pickup truck stolen from the Brookline subdivision to the Wellington Ridge apartments off Ga. Highway 142. When officers arrived, they met another vehicle, a 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer, leaving the complex at a high rate of speed, with one male teenager clinging to the hood of the car and the other one driving. The teens are believed to be ages 14 and 15.
Capt. Ken Malcom said officers turned around to stop the vehicle, at which time the suspect on the hood got inside and the vehicle sped away.
The vehicle reportedly headed north on Ga. Highway 142 where it encountered a Newton County Sheriff’s Office deputy near Bridgestone Golf. At that point, Malcom said, the two suspects left the vehicle and fled south toward Alcovy Road.
A short time later, a Georgia State Patrol trooper spotted the two suspects behind Hometown Suites on City Pond Road. One was apprehended at that point, but the other fled into nearby woods. The fleeing suspect was reportedly fumbling with the waistband of his pants, and officers believed that he might be armed, Malcom said.
Malcom said police set up a perimeter in the search area and called in K-9 officers to track, in addition to using a drone to search from above, without success.
As the time for students to arrive at nearby schools drew closer, Malcom said the Newton County School System placed two schools on lockdown — Cousins Middle School and Palmer Stone.
Subsequently, Malcom said an employee at nearby Georgia Piedmont Technical College called to report that a suspect was seen running across the school’s parking lot off Bob Williams Parkway and into some nearby woods. Malcom said officers responded and searched the area.
“One of our detectives looked up and found the guy 20 feet up in a tree,” said Malcom.
The suspect was ordered to come down, and he was arrested without incident. He was not armed at the time he was apprehended.
Officials said the teens drove the Mitsubishi from DeKalb County, where it had been stolen. The stolen pickup truck was recovered at Wellington Ridge apartments.
Malcom said guns, laptops, iPads, cell phones and other items were discovered in at least one of the stolen vehicles, and a number of vehicles at Wellington Ridge had been broken into.
The suspects have been charged with entering auto, fleeing to elude, theft by receiving, theft by taking and obstruction. Their names have not been released due to their status as juveniles.
“This is kind of a typical criminal trend where people will come down from the Atlanta area and they’ll look for a location where they can find a number of vehicles (to break into),” said Malcom.
The investigation is continuing, and Malcom said the situation remains fluid.
“We are very fortunate that no one got hurt,” he said. “This was a great effort from the Covington Police Department, the Newton County Sheriff’s department, the Georgia State Patrol, and Georgia Piedmont. All of those agencies had a play in this to bring this to an end.”