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On the beat: Man makes off with Wal-Mart TV

On the Beat is an occasional reporting of various crimes and complaints confronted by law enforcement personnel in Newton County in the course of their duties. It is compiled by News Editor Barbara Knowles, who can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.

How much nerve does it take to walk out of Wal-Mart with a 32-inch HDTV without paying for it? Apparently, there is some guy driving a green Dodge Charger with Florida plates who knows, because that's what he did about 8 p.m. Friday, according to a Covington Police Department incident report. The TV was on display in front of the store and was valued at $648.

Perhaps his success inspired a gang of three to go into Wal-Mart the next day about 11:45 p.m. with what is described as a "pry bar" and empty out a cabinet in the electronics department.

According to a CPD incident report, two women and a man, driving a small silver SUV, made their way to the electronics department with a buggy and the pry bar. There, the man broke into the cabinet and removed six laptop computers and placed them into the buggy. They then nonchalantly wheeled the buggy out of the store. The pry bar was later located behind a box in the store. The computers were valued at nearly $5,500.

Obviously, when someone enters a store with a burglar's tool, there's a good chance there's larceny on his mind, yet this threesome apparently went unnoticed. Then, they made it back out the front door without showing a receipt. Most folks can't get through the door with a pair of panty hose or a tube of toothpaste they've already paid for without showing proof of purchase.

They took what?

A woman on Geiger Street reported that her house was burglarized while she was out of town sometime between Saturday evening and Sunday morning.

CPD officers found forced entry had been made to the front door where a muddy shoe print was visible and pry marks could be seen around the doorknob and latch area. The doorjamb was broken. At the rear of the residence there was attempted forced entry at the kitchen window, the rear door and a double-paned bedroom window had been broken.

After such concentrated effort to enter the residence, the only thing missing was a pair of beard trimmers valued at $20. The burglars did, however, leave one of their "tools" behind. A credit card with a woman's name on it was located outside the bedroom window. Officers said it looked as though the card was "cracked and worn in such a manner consistent with one that had been used to slide into the doorjamb to unlock a door."

Who else?

What do candy and baseballs have in common? According to what a woman on Settlers Grove Road told the CPD, those two items were used to torment her by a woman she had "trouble" with in the past.

She said her check engine light came on in her vehicle and a candy bar was discovered in the pipe that leads to her gas tank. She came to the conclusion the damage was probably done by the same woman she had seen previously throwing baseballs at vehicles in her yard.

What's the price?

Three women who were apparently looking for a bargain became irate and used profanity at a discount clothing store in Covington recently, according to a report filed with the CPD. The three had apparently asked a salesperson the price of an item, but when they got to the register, the price came up differently. In leaving the store, they threw a telephone and two umbrellas. They left the parking lot in a black Lexus.

Who's got snacks?

A CPD officer was dispatched to a Frito-Lay vendor on Old Atlanta Highway who said someone had broken into his truck and stolen $300 worth of cookies, crackers, peanuts and chips.

They may have gotten hungry again because two days later someone came back and this time took three catalytic converters from delivery trucks, doing significantly more damage.

Debit or credit?

A woman reported to the Newton County Sheriff's Office that her boyfriend had taken her debit card out of her wallet without her permission and used it several times. She said he did, however, return the card to her purse when he'd finished.

Didn't you pay that?

A CPD officer stopped a man driving a Ford Explorer for failure to wear his seat belt. While routinely running the man's information through the computer, the officer discovered he was uninsured. The man assured the officer that was a mistake because his girlfriend had just paid his insurance. Later, the officer spoke with the girlfriend, who said she couldn't remember if she paid the insurance bill or not.

The whole time the officer was conversing with the man about the insurance, he noticed the man's eyes had a glassy appearance. He asked about it and the man said it was because of his work. The officer noticed other indications that the man was allegedly under the influence of drugs, so he asked him when he last smoked marijuana. After a lengthy give-and-take conversation on this question, the man reluctantly admitted that he had smoked marijuana two days previously.

The officer next asked permission to search the vehicle and the man agreed. The officer asked if he was going to find anything illegal inside the vehicle and the man said, well, yeah, to be perfectly honest, he was going to find a bag of marijuana beside the driver's seat. Indeed, the officer discovered a "green leafy substance," where the man said it would be and then the man was arrested.

Whose fault?

A woman called the NCSO and said she was stopped in front of Bell's Grocery and an employee pushed a line of shopping carts into the rear of her vehicle, damaging the bumper. The Bell's employee said he was pushing the carts into the store when the woman backed up, striking the carts with her bumper. The deputy reported he was unable to determine who was at fault.

Shot what?

An Oxford woman called the NCSO and reported that a family member had shot her 2002 silver Ford Focus vehicle and damaged it. That's right, someone shot her car.

Who's sorry now?

A man reported that his uncle had allowed a friend to stay overnight at his house and when he awoke the next morning the "friend" had taken two buckets from the garage that contained 1/2-inch copper fittings. The so-called friend did call the victim, however, and apologize for the theft. No word on whether he was sorry enough to return the items.

'Hello, who is this?'

A woman told NCSO deputies she lost her cell phone at Kroger on Salem Road about 2 a.m. Friday. She called her number and a man answered, but amazingly he refused to bring her phone back. She discontinued her phone service.