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On the Beat: Improper cell phone use, computer disappearance hit classrooms

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.

Trouble in school

A 14-year-old high school student was arrested by the Newton County Sheriff's Office and charged with unlawful eavesdropping/surveillance, a felony, after his teacher allegedly caught him photographing under her dress. The teacher alleged that while she was helping another student, he used his cell phone to take the photograph.

· A Newton County High School teacher reported to the NCSO that when he left his room, his computer was in place, but when he returned to his class a short time later, it was gone.

Trading treasures

A man who had broken up with his girlfriend asked the NCSO to escort him to her house as he needed to return a white gold and diamond bracelet that belonged to her. The deputy went along to observe the transaction and reported that the young lady also returned an item that apparently had belonged to the former boyfriend - a dark-colored ashtray.

'My car's gone'

A man notified the Covington Police Department that he was helping out a female friend by allowing her to stay at his house, but when he woke up, his car was gone. He was only able to furnish officers with her first name.

· A woman came to the NCSO headquarters to report that she had loaned her car to a friend for the weekend, but the friend had failed to return it. When she called to ask her about it, she was told the car was out of gas and parked in the woman's yard. She asked her if she would be at home so she could come and get the car and the keys, but the friend said she would not be there. Other numerous attempts to retrieve the vehicle had been unsuccessful.

Cleaning up for church

A citizen called the NCSO on a Saturday night to report that a man was apparently drunk at Allen Memorial United Methodist Church on Whatcoat Street in Oxford. When the deputy arrived, he was met by Newton County fire personnel who advised him he'd found the man passed out on the sidewalk between the church and the fellowship hall. The culprit was arrested on a charge of public intoxication.

Crowded parking

A Newton County deputy found five vehicles in the rear parking lot of the Newton County Courthouse parked in the driveway of the lot, blocking other vehicles. Three of the drivers were located and told to move their cars. Two of the drivers were not found and arrangements were made to tow the vehicles.

Just as the second vehicle was being towed away, the owner showed up and was very upset when the deputy informed her she'd have to pay the wrecker driver. She said there weren't any "no parking signs" posted in the driveway. The deputy explained to her that the way it worked was that drivers were supposed to park between the little white lines for a vehicle to be considered legally parked and when she parked in the travel lane, she blocked other vehicles and they couldn't leave. She told the deputy they wouldn't have been blocked in if they knew how to drive. She lost the argument and wound up paying the wrecker driver.

Shoplifting is a crime

The CPD was summoned to Wal-Mart after a loss prevention representative spotted a woman using the self-checkout lane and failing to ring up all of her items. She purchased $93.17 worth of groceries, but left the store with an additional $74.78 worth of merchandise that she placed in her shopping buggy without the benefit of it being scanned. The woman was arrested for shoplifting.

· A woman was arrested at Wal-Mart for attempting to leave the store without paying for $45.41 worth of lip gloss.

· An employee at CitiTrends notified the CPD that two females - one adult and one juvenile - went into a dressing room with $150.12 worth of merchandise, but when they came out, they no longer had it. The adult suspect ran from the store when police were summoned, leaving the juvenile to fend for herself. The clothing was found in her purse, along with several items from Publix and Beauty and Wigs. She said she was mystified as to how the merchandise from those two stores got into her purse.

· A woman was seen leaving Kmart with a shopping cart full of items that weren't in bags and were apparently not paid for. An employee attempted to approach her and she grabbed her small child and ran off in the direction of Blockbuster. The stolen items totaled $705.89.

· A woman described by a witness as a "skinny white female driving a blue Oldsmobile" apparently took six rugs from the Porterdale Flea Market without paying for them.

'Cheers'

A man notified the NCSO that he found beer and wine while out jogging.

'Please help me'

An NCSO deputy patrolling on Fairview Road stopped to assist a motorist who said he'd run out of gas and was looking for a ride to the service station.

As a matter of procedure, before taking the man for some gas, the deputy ran a check on his driver's license. He discovered he was wanted for assault out of DeKalb County. When DeKalb police were contacted, they asked the deputy to hang on to the man - they wanted him.

While making arrangements to have the car the man was driving towed, the deputy spotted two 9 mm shell casings on the backseat and two more between the windshield and the hood. He also found a bullet hole in the car. The deputy advised DeKalb County of these further developments and they asked Newton to hold the vehicle for them as well.

Special delivery

A man notified the NCSO that he found a 9 mm, semi-automatic handgun inside his mailbox. The gun was loaded with 17 rounds of ammunition in the magazine and one in the chamber.

Lost wallets

Two women notified the CPD that both of them had left their wallets in a shopping cart at Wal-Mart and didn't realize it until they got home. A Wal-Mart employee had told the women that both wallets were no longer in the shopping cart.

Stolen merchandise

Three men went into PC After Dark looking to sell a computer. The clerk at the store saw a phone number on the front screen and called it, inquiring about the origin of the computer. The man who answered the phone told the clerk that the computer may have been stolen from Zaxby's. The clerk notified the CPD.