On the Beat: Off-duty deputy foils trio's plant heist

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.

Every intention of paying

An off-duty deputy was working a security job at Kroger on Salem Road when he was alerted that a man was loading flowers into his car and didn't appear to be planning to pay for them. When the deputy approached the man for an explanation, he was lying down in the front seat of his car. After asking him twice to sit up and talk to him, the man finally told the deputy his brother had loaded the plants in the trunk and had gone to use the phone. When asked to open the trunk, the man said he didn't have the keys.

A few minutes later, another man and an older woman approached, identifying themselves as the mother and brother of the man being questioned. They said they were going to pay for the plants, but had first gone inside the store to return some stockings. They said one of the cashiers had told them to come back outside and get the plants.

However, all of the cashiers maintained they had not talked to the pair about the plants. As the deputy continued questioning the three, they had a difficult time explaining who was driving, where they were going or coming from and their actual plan for payment of the plants. It was eventually determined that together they only had a total of $15 in cash, and $80 worth of plants were found in the trunk of their car. All three went to jail.

Getting personal

A woman called the NCSO to report that a man called her at her new home where she had been living less than a week and tried to sell her a satellite television service. She gave him dates of birth and Social Security numbers for both her and her daughter. When she tried to call the person back, someone answered who said they didn't know anything about satellite TV. She thinks it may be a scam.

Hole in the fence

A woman called the NCSO to report that she contacted a fencing company about repairing her fence. The man who came to her home told her it would be a $400 repair job and he needed $200 to get started. She gave him the money, and the fence is still in disrepair. She called the man and he told her to come by his office for a refund, but she couldn't locate his office. She told deputies she didn't want to press charges. She just wants her money back.


A man notified the Covington Police Department that someone had stolen his dog between 3 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. The dog, a pit bull, is described as white with a pink nose with several fly bites on his ears and back. He also apparently has a skin condition described as "large pink area round his neck." The dog is wearing a black spike collar and answers to the name Killer. The man said he paid his cousin approximately $15 for Killer.

Safe crackers

A man notified the NCSO that his house had been burglarized while he was away from home for about 20 minutes. He said the closet doors and clothes drawers were open, but the only things that had been moved were four safes. Three of them were outside and one was still in the house, but had been moved. The only thing missing was the lid to a ceramic container.

Some swap

A man notified the NCSO that he had his dirt bike for sale and he'd had it chained to a telephone pole in front of his home. He said the bike was missing and whoever took it apparently did so by cutting the chain with a pair of bolt cutters. The thief left the bolt cutters.

Missing angel

A woman reported to the NCSO that she heard noises late at night in her back yard and saw a man outside her house who took off running. The next day she discovered the cement angel from her front yard was missing.

Designated driver

An NCSO warrant officer was notified that a wanted man was seen leaving an area bar in a taxi. A CPD officer was able to stop the taxi on Turner Lake Road and the right front seat passenger was the man who was wanted for probation violation and failure to register as a sex offender. His wife was driving the taxi.

Sesame Street pays off

The NCSO stopped a driver suspected of being under the influence of alcohol. All doubt was removed when he had a difficult time counting on his fingers and performing other aspects of a field sobriety test. He was successful, however at singing the "Alphabet Song," when he was asked to say his ABCs.