NCSO: Do you know this man?

COVINGTON - The BP station and convenience store at 3501 Salem Road was burglarized on April 11, and Newton County Sheriff's Office officials are hoping the community can help solve the crime.

According to NCSO spokesman Lt. Mark Mitchell, video surveillance cameras were rolling about 3:30 a.m. when a black man with a medium build forced open the door of the store and left with approximately $500 worth of cigarettes. He was driving a small silver automobile, believed to be a "Chevy product," Mitchell said.

"We collected the video and turned the case over to CID," Mitchell said. "We're asking the community to look at the photos and see if they can help us identify the suspect."

Mitchell said investigators are hoping when this case is solved, it will close others, as well.

"They are looking to see if it's tied to other burglaries in the area that have occurred in the last several weeks," Mitchell said.

Anyone with information concerning this incident or who believes they can identify the suspect is asked to call the NCSO at 678-625-1412. Tips can also be given to the NCSO anonymously at 678-625-5007 or through their Web site at www.newtonsheriffga.org and clicking on "anonymous tip line." Those who want a response from NCSO personnel should leave contact information.

In other crime news, spectators at Thursday night's Newton-Rockdale Senior All-Star basketball game at Newton High School were momentarily panicked when a burst of several loud-popping noises occurred during half-time.

NCSO deputies were on the scene and upon investigation discovered the noises came from discharged fireworks and were not gunshots as first feared by many in the gymnasium at the time of the incident, Mitchell said.

He said the disturbance occurred about 7:30 p.m.

Deputies identified several high school-age boys who are suspected of discharging the fireworks.

"They are investigating to see exactly who released the fireworks into the crowd, causing a disruption. Obviously, there will be charges if we can determine who did this," Mitchell said.

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