Robbers hit 4 businesses

COVINGTON - Four local business were robbed at gunpoint in as many days last week, according to Newton County and Covington authorities.

The first robbery occurred Thursday night just before 9:30 p.m., at the Chapman's Chevron on Ga. Highway 81.

According to an incident report completed by Deputy John Redlinger, two black men armed with handguns entered the store, demanded money and fled the scene on foot.

Saturday night, two black men, who were also reportedly armed with handguns, held up the Rocky Plains Convenience Store located near the intersection of Ga. Highway 162 and Ga. Highway 212.

The suspects, who entered the store shortly after 9:30 p.m., were described as having slim builds and wearing all dark clothing, along with hoods and masks, according to Lt. Bill Watterson, spokesman for the Newton County Sheriff's Office.

The gunmen reportedly took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled the scene in an unknown vehicle.

Hours later, an unidentified black man robbed Zaxby's on Turner Lake Road at gunpoint after it had closed for the evening, said Covington Police Department Sgt. Vic Partee in an incident report.

According to Lt. Paul Dailey, the gunman, who was described as having a small build and wearing a black, long sleeve shirt, took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled on foot.

The last incident occurred Sunday night at the Shell gas station and convenience store located near the intersection of Brown Bridge Road and Magnet Road.

Watterson said that a black man, wearing all dark clothing and armed with a stainless steel pistol, entered the business just before 9:30 p.m., demanded money and fled the scene on foot.

The NCSO spokesman said that investigators are currently in the process of reviewing surveillance camera footage from the stores and tracking down leads. Watterson said the robberies do not appear to be related.

"There's no definitive connection between the cases at this time," he said.

Dailey also said that he didn't think the Zaxby's robbery was related to the other three, but indicated detectives would know more as the investigation progresses.

Authorities say they usually see a spike in the number of armed robberies around the holiday shopping season, as criminals look to gain quick access to cash.

Watterson advises those who find themselves in these types of situations to not resist and cooperate with the gunman's requests. The NCSO spokesman also said to try and get the best description you can of the suspect.

Authorities ask that anyone with information about the robberies at Chapman's Chevron, Rocky Plains Convenience Store or Shell call the NCSO at 678-625-1403. Tips can be given to the NCSO anonymously at 678-625-5007 or through the Web at www.newtonsheriffga.org and clicking on "anonymous tip line." Those who want a response from NCSO personnel should leave contact information.

Anyone with information about the Zaxby's robbery is asked to call the CPD at 770-786-7605. Tips can be given to the CPD anonymously by visiting their Web site at www.covingtonpolice.com and clicking on "contact us" and then "secret witness."

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