COVINGTON - The Covington police arrested a man on a charge of indecent exposure Tuesday night after witnesses reported seeing him driving around without any clothes.
Officers were summoned to the Chevron gas station at the intersection of Turner Lake and Brown Bridge roads after receiving reports of a man in a white Volvo who "had all his clothes off," according to an incident report completed by Officer Christopher Usiak.
Steven Matthew Ray, 36, of 35 Overlook Drive, was charged with public indecency.
Two of the witnesses, both of whom were UPS employees, told the officers they had seen the man and that he had parked in the back of the Chevron station. Officers reported they discovered clothing in the front seat of the vehicle, but the driver was not there.
The officers said they searched a nearby wooded area to no avail and returned to the Chevron station to see if the suspect returned to his vehicle.
After a few minutes, Usiak said he saw the suspect emerge from the woods, wearing shorts and shoes. The officer asked him where he was coming from and he told them he had been running; however, Usiak said the area that he came from was private property with no-trespassing signs, adding, "There weren't any trails and he came out through the thickets."
Ray was transported to the Newton County Detention Center.
In other crime news, the Newton County Sheriff's Office is asking the public for help in apprehending the person or persons who did more than $10,000 worth of damage to Lawnwood Cemetery on Dec. 2.
Lt. Mark Mitchell said the caretaker for the cemetery notified them that sometime between noon and 1 p.m. while personnel was at lunch, someone had driven a vehicle over six graves.
Damaged in the incident were in-ground grave markers valued at $9,600; bronze flower vases valued at $1,800; and miscellaneous floral arrangements valued at $240.
"At this time, we don't have any suspects or vehicle information," Mitchell said. "We're asking anybody who might have been in the cemetery on Dec. 2 or who saw the vehicle, to please call us."
The NCSO can be reached at 678-625-1400. Also, tips can be given to the NCSO anonymously at 678-625-5007 or through their Web at www.newtonsheriffga.org and clicking on "anonymous tip line." Those who want a response from NCSO personnel should leave contact information.
Also, the owner of Leapin' Lizard Pet Shop on Usher Street called the CPD to report that three lizards had been stolen from the store Saturday.
The lizards, all measuring about a foot in length, are believed to have been taken about 11:30 a.m. The missing reptiles include a green water dragon valued at $50; a green Iguana valued at $40; and a green bearded dragon valued at $90.
Barbara Knowles can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.