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Pony Express burglars flee, but are chased down on I-20

COVINGTON -- An early morning burglary at the Pony Express Gas Station on Ga. Highway 11 developed into a three-county chase on Interstate 20, ending with a crash and the apprehension of one suspect, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.

NCSO spokesman Lt. Mark Mitchell said a witness called 911 Friday morning around 5:30 reporting the burglary at the gas station that was formerly the Big M Food Mart, across from Pony Express Towing. The witness was able to give a description of the suspect vehicle.

"We posted a lookout on a Silver 2005 Chevrolet Silverado pickup and a Rockdale County deputy intercepted it westbound on I-20," Mitchell said. "A chase ensued and the Georgia State Patrol got involved and they did a PIT maneuver. One suspect was arrested and at least one other suspect fled the scene."

A PIT maneuver is a method by which an officer can tap the pursued vehicle with his bumper and force it to abruptly turn sideways, causing the driver to lose control and stop.

Mitchell said investigators are not sure how many suspects were involved in the burglary, but Thaddeus Anderson, 47, of Atlanta is being held in the Newton County Detention Center in connection with incident.

Apparently the door to the business was forced open and a preliminary list of items taken during the burglary includes lottery tickets, cigarettes and an undetermined amount of cash.

Georgia State Patrol spokesman Lt. Paul Cosper said one of their troopers heard the radio traffic involved with the chase and intercepted the vehicle on I-20 westbound in DeKalb County.

"He attempted to get him to stop, but he ended up 'pitting' them at Gresham Road and I-20," Cosper said. "The driver was arrested, but the black male passenger fled. Nobody was hurt."

Cosper said cartons of cigarettes and other items apparently taken in the burglary were located in the suspect's truck.

The suspect was turned over to Newton County authorities and Cosper said he was taken to a hospital to be checked out after the crash, but was determined to be unhurt. Traffic charges by the GSP against Anderson are pending, he said.

Rush hour traffic on the interstate was snarled for approximately two hours while investigators sorted out the scene.

Rockdale County Sheriff Jeff Wigington said he was glad his men could help out.

"I'm glad we could help apprehend one of the burglars, and hopefully, they'll get information that will lead to the others," Wigington said. " We always work well with Newton County and the State Patrol. It worked out good."