Two caught in purse snatching
Third suspect still at large

CONYERS - Two Newton County schools were placed on lockdown for several hours Tuesday while law enforcement officers from Conyers, Newton County and the Georgia State Patrol searched for one of the suspects involved in a purse-snatching outside a Conyers bank.

Conyers Police Chief David Cathcart said a man approached a woman standing in the parking lot of Bank of America on Ga. Highway 138 about 10:15 a.m. Tuesday and asked her for money.

"At some point, he pushed her down and grabbed her purse," Cathcart said.

The suspect then jumped into a waiting vehicle that drove away.

Cathcart said the victim's son-in-law, who witnessed the incident, got in his car and followed the suspect's vehicle as it headed toward Newton County on Interstate 20.

Cathcart said witnesses reported seeing the two vehicles driving fast and erratically.

At some point, the suspect's vehicle began having engine trouble and the driver pulled over near the intersection of Access Road and Fairview Road in Newton County.

Two of the male passengers fled from the vehicle, leaving the third suspect, a woman, in the car. Cathcart said a Newton County deputy quickly captured one of the men, along with the woman, who is believed to be the getaway driver.

Authorities with CPD, NCSO and GSP began to search the area along Fairview Road for the third suspect, described as a black man wearing blue jeans and dark shoes, forcing a lockdown of Fairview Elementary School and Clements Middle School.

"We had one school resource officer on the scene of one of the schools at the time of the incident and other school resource officers were sent to assist with security at the schools until they either found the suspect or cleared the search," NCSO Lt. Mark Mitchell said, adding that deputies did sweeps of the schools during the lockdown period to ensure the suspect was not there.

The lockdown was lifted about 1:45 to 2 p.m., according to Sherri Viniard, public relations director for Newton County schools.

Cathcart said the two suspects were taken to the Rockdale County Jail, but no further information was available as of press time.

Aimee Jones can be reached at aimee.jones@rockdalecitizen.com.

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