Man charged with 23 counts, including pit bull puppy theft

COVINGTON - A Covington man has been arrested on 23 charges brought against him by an off-duty Morrow police officer after he was allegedly involved in a chase and the theft of a puppy, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.

Damon Romalis Lampley, 18, of 166 Flowers Drive was arrested last Thursday night. According to NCSO spokesman Lt. Mark Mitchell, 911 dispatchers sent deputies to East Country Woods Drive about

10:30 p.m. after the Morrow police officer notified them he was holding a suspect on the ground at gunpoint.

"When we arrived, we were advised by the off-duty officer that he had observed some individuals in a suspicious vehicle near his residence," Mitchell said, adding that the officer lived in an area off Cowan Road. "He began watching and saw them go (on foot) behind a neighbor's residence and observed the individuals running through back yards. They then got into a car and left the area."

Mitchell said the off-duty officer got into his unmarked police vehicle and gave chase, catching up with them on East Country Woods Drive.

There were three suspects in the car, but the two passengers jumped out and ran, leaving the driver, who was detained by the officer.

Earlier on the night of March 12, a resident of Plum Orchard Drive had notified the NCSO that a pit bull puppy had been stolen from her apartment. When deputies arrived, they found a puppy in the back seat of the car that the off-duty officer had been chasing.

"The reporting officers recognized the canine and it was indentified by the owners, so Newton County is bringing charges on the theft of the puppy," Mitchell said.

Because of the violations committed prior and during the chase that the off-duty officer observed, Mitchell said as a sworn officer he is bringing those charges.

"Since he observed the crime of loitering and prowling and he's the main witness to that, he's the one who pursued those charges in the Newton County Probate Court system," Mitchell said.

In addition to a theft by taking charge in connection with the alleged theft of the puppy, Lampley is charged with loitering and prowling, fleeing and attempting to elude, obstruction of a law enforcement officer, disorderly conduct, terroristic threats and acts, driving too fast for conditions, failure to yield to emergency vehicle, theft by receiving stolen property, reckless conduct causing harm to or endangering the safety of another, passing without sufficient clearance, passing on a solid yellow line, vehicles to drive on right side of roadway, improper lane usage, vehicle turning left, following too closely, criminal trespass, further limitations on driving on left of center of road, hindering apprehension or punishment of a criminal, aggressive driving, failure to signal when turning, speed limit violation, failure to stop at stop sign and reckless driving.

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