COVINGTON -- Even for those who may not be superstitious, it can hardly be argued that 13 was not an unlucky number in the early morning hours Monday when at least that many vehicles were broken into at an apartment complex on Gross Lake Parkway, near the Rockdale County line.
The Newton County Sheriff's Office was close to catching the suspects, but they got away. Their vehicle did not, however, and it is now being examined for clues as to the perpetrators' identity, according to NCSO spokesman Lt. Tyrone Oliver.
"A person called about a suspicious person and we were able to make contact," Oliver said. "This is a good example of why people need to call us if they see or hear anything suspicious. I just wish we had caught them, but we've got a good start. We got the car."
Oliver said at this time it is unknown if the owner of the vehicle, a gray 2003 Volkswagen Jetta, was involved in the incidents.
He said deputies were dispatched to the suspicious person call around 2 a.m. and when they arrived at the scene, they found many of the vehicles with doors standing ajar and locks broken.
The person who notified them had said that two black males were breaking into vehicles. "One was on foot and one followed him in a gray, four-door car," a NCSO incident report states.
"A deputy spotted a vehicle that matched the description and attempted to initiate a traffic stop," Oliver said. "They fled toward Salem Road and right near Avalon Parkway and the Rockdale County line, the vehicle stopped and two black males fled on foot."
Oliver said upon checking inside the Volkswagen, numerous items that had been stolen from the vehicles in the apartment complex were recovered and returned to the rightful owners.
"We're now having the vehicle processed to see if there's any evidence to shed some light on who they are," he said. "They fled so fast they didn't have time to get rid of any evidence."
Oliver said the only descriptions they had were that they were black, both wearing jeans and one had on a red shirt and the other a gray shirt.
From the incident reports, it appears that many of the vehicles were locked, yet the perpetrators were able to enter them by forcing the locks. Cash and electronics were the main items taken.
"They were grabbing what they could see," Oliver said, adding that the NCSO urges residents to secure all valuable items in their home if possible, but if they must be left in their vehicles that they make sure they are out of sight.
Authorities ask that anyone with information on this incident to call the NCSO at 678-625-1400. Tips can be given to the NCSO anonymously at 678-625-5007 or through the Web at www.newtonsheriffga.org and clicking on "anonymous tips." Those who want a response from NCSO personnel should leave contact information.