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Botched burglary leads to 3 arrests

COVINGTON - Three alleged burglars were taken into custody last week after the owner of the building they tried to steal from shot out the rear tire of their pickup truck to prevent them from escaping.

About 9:30 a.m. Dec. 13, The 57-year-old victim went to check on his property on Old Atlanta Highway, which had been damaged by unknown perpetrators the day before, at which time he heard someone by an out building at the rear of the home, according to a Newton County Sheriff's Office incident report completed by Deputy David Gilbert.

When he looked to see what was going on, the victim said he saw a tan Chevrolet pickup backed up to the building and went down to the location where he reportedly saw three suspects, identified as George Paul Stephens, 57, of Covington, Timothy Ray Johnson, 18, and his mother, Donna Jane Smith, 39, both of whom reside at 2192 U.S. Highway 278, Social Circle.

The trio were reportedly removing metal items from the building, some of which were already on the back of the truck.

Thinking the burglars could flee before he could notify authorities, the victim shot out the right rear tire on the pickup truck with a handgun, Gilbert said.

Upon arriving at the scene, Gilbert said the suspects had already fled. Stephens, Johnson and Smith were later located by deputies, however, walking along the side of Old Atlanta Highway and were taken into custody.

The victim positively identified the three as the ones who had been on his property earlier, according to the NCSO incident report.

In addition to burglary, Smith has also been charged with possession of burglary tools and failure to appear.

Joel Griffin can be reached at joel.griffin@newtoncitizen.com.