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Neighbor's call leads to arrest of three burglary suspects

COVINGTON - A call from an alert resident landed three alleged burglars in jail last week following a traffic stop by sheriff's deputies.

Shortly after 11 a.m. Sunday, the neighbor of a residence on Mill Crest Drive called 911 and said that a man and woman in a suspicious vehicle had just pulled up below her neighbor's house, said Lt. Bill Watterson, spokesman for the Newton County Sheriff's Office.

The female suspect, Erica Susan Alford, 20, reportedly walked to the front door while the man in the vehicle pulled up to the garage. The man then lifted the garage door up, allowing Alford to allegedly gain entry to the residence.

Alford later emerged from the garage, got into the vehicle and fled the scene with the male suspect.

Watterson said by the time the suspects left the scene, deputies were already in the area and quickly pulled them over.

Inside the car, deputies found Alford, along with 19-year-old Anaiah Theophilus Petty and 20-year-old Froncenick Jonnele Hider.

Watterson said Alford appeared "very concerned" about something in the passenger's side floorboard and upon searching the vehicle, deputies discovered a .380 caliber pistol lying under a black bag.

Further search of the vehicle revealed a quantity of marijuana, along with scales and plastic bags.

The three suspects were subsequently taken into custody and transported to the Newton County Detention Center where they were booked under various charges.

All three suspects have been charged with burglary, criminal attempt to commit burglary and criminal trespass. Alford has also been charged with driving with a suspended license, while Petty faces additional charges of carrying a pistol without a license, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm while trying to commit crimes.

Both Petty and Hider have each been charged with one count of party to a crime.

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