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3 connected with armed robberies

CONYERS - The Rockdale County Sheriff's Office has arrested three men in connection with the Thursday armed robbery at Tamaulipas Mexican store on Pinelog Road and in the process have cleared their books on a second robbery that took place six days earlier.

According to Sgt. Jodi Shupe, two black men entered Tamaulipas about 11:40 a.m. Thursday and held the store clerk and a friend at gunpoint as they demanded money.

They took money from the cash register, as well as taking the victims' wallets and cell phones.

"They forcefully grabbed them and moved them from room to room, while demanding cash and holding them against their will, which is considered false imprisonment, or kidnapping," Shupe said.

The victims told deputies the men had a "Uzi-type gun" that was later identified as a Mack 10, and that they ran from the store in the direction of Briar Creek apartment complex, entered a Silver Volvo driven by a third man and fled the scene, Shupe said.

"A lookout was given and a few minutes later, a Conyers Police officer spotted the vehicle, tried to make a traffic stop, but the driver refused to pull over," Shupe said. "The officer gave chase and the car pulled onto Interstate 20 westbound and finally stopped at Evans Mill Road and Old Covington Highway in DeKalb County."

The suspects were taken into custody and the victims later identified them as the men who had robbed them.

Arrested and charged were:

· Michael Anthony Thomas, 21, 1726 Kirkland Road, Covington, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, aggravated assault and kidnapping;

· James Albert George, 17, 1211 Keswick Village Court, possession of a firearm, armed robbery and kidnapping;

· Devon Bernard Curry, 18, 1125 Keswick Village Court; armed robbery, party to a crime of armed robbery, fleeing and attempting to elude.

After investigators searched the vehicle, they discovered a silver revolver and the Mack 10 and were able to link Curry and George to the armed robbery of two Hispanic males in Harvest Grove apartment complex Oct. 23.

Shupe said during that incident, the victims said two black men robbed them at gunpoint, taking their wallets and cell phones.

"Curry later used the victims bank cards that lead to video surveillance that ultimately connected the two robberies," Shupe said, adding that also found in his possession was clothing like that shown in the video tape.

Two more counts of armed robbery were made against Curry and George and further charges may be pending, Shupe said.

In other crime news:

Two men were shot while in their car at the intersection of Alexander and Clark streets Thursday night, according to the Covington Police Department.

Lt. Wendell Wagstaff said officers were notified by Newton Medical Center that two men were in the emergency room suffering from gunshot wounds.

"They said two black males ran up to the driver's side window of their vehicle while they were at the corner of Alexander and Clark streets," Bagwell said. "They said they jumped out of the bushes and pointed a gun at them and said to 'give them everything they had.'"

The driver said he gave the robbers some cash and other items, but when he started to leave, one of the men fired at them.

The 19-year-old driver was shot in the right forearm and his 18-year-old passenger, who is wheelchair bound, was struck in the right leg. A third, backseat passenger was uninjured.

"We're conducting interviews and hope to make some arrests soon," Wagstaff said. "We want to assure the community we're doing everything we can on this so people don't have to be in fear when they pull up to a stop light."

He said it is always good practice to be watchful of surroundings and to keep car doors locked at all times.

In other crime news, a 13-year-old male student at Sharp Learning Center was detained by juvenile authorities after he threatened to stab two teachers with a pair of scissors he was holding in his hand.

The youngster was charged with making terroristic threats and acts.

A 62-year-old man, who notified the Newton County Sheriff's Office that he was holding five juveniles he allegedly caught damaging property at the Gross Lake pavilion was himself arrested, Lt. Mark Mitchell said.

While en route to the scene, Deputy David Gilbert reported that the 911 dispatcher heard the man saying he "would blow their heads off," in addition to other threats.

"We arrived and made contact with the complainant, and further investigation revealed that he had pointed a shotgun and a handgun at these juveniles," Mitchell said. "The officer at the scene discovered he did indeed have weapons in his vehicle, one of which turned out to be stolen. Based on evidence and witness statements, we arrested him."

Carl Alfred Phillips, of 60 Lakeside Court, was charged with aggravated assault, pointing a gun at another and theft by receiving stolen property.

The Liberty Food Mart on Covington Bypass was discovered to have been burglarized about 4 a.m. Thursday.

A resident notified the NCSO they had found the glass in the front door broken out. When deputies arrived, they located a large truck lug wrench inside the store.

The owner estimated that there were 114 cartons of cigarettes, including brands Benson & Hedges, Marlboro, Camel, Kools, Salem and Dorals missing from the store. The estimated value is $3,500.

Barbara Knowles can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.