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'09 reader favorites of On the Beat

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. This edition contains some reader favorites from 2009. It is compiled by News Editor Barbara Knowles, who can be reached at barbara.knowles@newtoncitizen.com.

Striking it rich

A man called the NCSO to his home to report there was a man sitting in the middle of the South River taking things that didn't belong to him. He said a friend asked the man what he was doing, and the man said he was collecting gold flecks from the river. The man wanted it documented that the subject was on his property panning for gold.

A trip to nowhere

A Newton County Sheriff's Office deputy noticed a vehicle that appeared to be abandoned on the side of Interstate 20 eastbound at mile marker 100. When he approached the car, however, he noticed a man asleep in the driver's seat. As he tried to wake the man, the deputy reported smelling the strong odor of alcohol.

He yelled and knocked on the car door several times before he was able to get a response, and when the man finally woke up, he glanced over at the officer and said, "Oh, crap!" and began "driving" the vehicle by moving the steering wheel as if he was guiding the car, ignoring the officer.

The deputy continued to try to gain the man's attention and finally opened the door to the vehicle so that he was standing right next to the man. At that time, the man looked over while still "driving," and said, "Oh, hey officer," and continued his fantasy journey.

The deputy was finally able to get the man out of the car and administer a field sobriety test. He did not do well and went to jail.

Bigger problems

A man filed a complaint with the Newton County Sheriff's Office stating that the wrecker driver who repossessed his vehicle left scuff marks on his driveway.

It's obvious

An NCSO deputy saw a pickup truck in an undeveloped subdivision and noticed a pile of household garbage and yard debris behind the truck. He asked the driver why he was in the subdivision and the man replied, "Doing exactly what you think." He was given a citation for littering.

Took her advice

A clerk at Radio Shack reported seeing a customer eying the TomTom GPS Navigation Systems and she told him he really should get one. The man left the store and approximately 20 minutes later, she noticed he not only got one, but he got two of the systems. The two missing TomToms are valued at $249.99 each.

A romantic gesture

A man was arrested by the Conyers Police after he was seen by employees of Kroger on Ga. Highway 138 shoplifting four plastic bottles of Bud Light and a white stuffed bear. The suspect told officers the bear was for "his lady" and the beer was for him. Total value of the items taken was $21.88.

Auto enmity

* A woman who is estranged from her husband called the CPD to say she drove her cousin's work van to her home to recover some of her personal items. Her husband was inside the house and while she was there, he went outside and came back in and made the comment, "I don't know how you're gonna leave because your tires are flat."

Confronted by CPD officers, the husband told them "stuff happens and sometimes you don't know who did it."

* A woman called the NCSO to say "an old friend" came by her house and put shoe polish on her vehicle. She said they'd had a "falling out."

Interrupted hospital visit

A family was reportedly visiting their ailing great-grandfather at Newton Medical Center when a dispute arose between a woman's current and past boyfriends. One said all he wanted to do was make peace when he approached the other's truck. The one in the truck said all he wanted to do was show the other guy he had a gun. Both went to jail.

Is that you, dear?

* A man reported to the CPD that he saw his wife in a store parking lot with another man. He asked her what was going on and as he leaned into the vehicle, he reported he was hit in the face by the other man. The husband fell backward into another vehicle and cut a gash in his head. The other man left the area. No word on who the wife left with.

* A man who said he returned home from a court hearing on his divorce saw his wife leaving his house. He checked his Lexus and observed a dent and white residue on the passenger door and scratches on the hood. He told Conyers police officers that his wife had worn white tennis shoes to the court hearing.

* A man called the NCSO in March to say that his wife was physically attacked by another man and she had to fight to get him off her. He said the incident had occurred last August in Rockdale County. The wife refused to talk to deputies. Her husband admitted that they were having marital problems and she wanted a divorce.

Medicinal purposes only

A woman flagged down a Covington police officer, asking for directions to the tag office. When the officer approached the woman's car to give directions, he smelled the all- too-familiar "strong odor of marijuana." At first, the woman was perplexed that the officer should question her about marijuana, but when another officer arrived and found a "green, leafy substance" in plain view on the front seat, she explained that her doctor had prescribed it to her because she was taking so many other medications it helped her "cope." Her next coping challenge was in jail.

Dog-gone

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.