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Police search for man who preys on elderly

COVINGTON - More details surrounding an incident in which an unknown man reportedly forced his way into the homes of two elderly women last week continue to come to light following the release of an incident report on Monday.

According to the Newton County Sheriff's Office incident report, completed by Deputy Matt Roberts, the suspect allegedly made off with $2,000 in cash after taking the purse of one of the victims.

Shortly before noon last Tuesday, Roberts responded to a residence on Ga. Highway 36, after receiving a call from the victim, who said she had just been robbed.

The 84-year-old victim told authorities that the suspect, who was described as a clean cut, middle-aged white man, knocked on her door claiming to be from the gas company.

The suspect told the victim that there was a broken gas main up the street and proceeded to enter her home without permission.

Once inside, the suspect ordered the victim to stand in the bathroom while he checked the house. After staying in the residence for only a few minutes, the intruder left the home driving a gray, newer model Chevrolet Silverado pickup.

It was only after the man left that the victim noticed that he had taken her purse, which contained her money, along with several other personal items, according to the incident report.

While speaking with the victim, Roberts said he noticed a white man driving a truck that matched her description pass the residence at a high rate of speed. A sheriff's deputy later pulled the vehicle over and after questioning the driver, he was released.

In addition to being clean cut and middle-aged, the victim said the intruder was wearing a blue jacket with blue jeans and described him as standing 6 feet tall and weighing about 220 pounds.

Earlier that same day, an Oxford woman reported having a similar encounter with the suspect.

The 87-year-old victim, who resides on Bryant Road, told sheriff's deputies that she heard a truck pull into her driveway around 10:30 a.m. Thinking the person was her grandson bringing her medicine, the victim opened the door to find an unknown white man, who told her that there had been an accident down the road and that he needed to check her water for a gas leak.

The unidentified man then reportedly forced his way inside the home and asked the victim where the sink was.

The victim said she lost sight of the man for a few moments and that by the time she caught up with him, he was leaving the residence.

After checking her purse, as well as some other belongings, the victim said nothing appeared to be missing.

According to Lt. Mark Mitchell, spokesman for the NCSO, investigators are tracking down leads in the case to try and determine the suspect's identity. Mitchell said that there have been no other reports of similar home invasions since Tuesday.

Authorities ask that anyone with information about these cases 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.

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