COVINGTON -- The Newton County Sheriff's Office is asking for the assistance of residents in locating three burglary suspects.
According to NCSO spokesman Anthony Washington, a woman was alone in her home on Ga. Highway 142 about noon on May 13 when she heard a noise. She exited her bedroom and confronted a stranger, standing in her living room/dining room area.
"She began yelling and the two had a verbal confrontation," Washington said. "He ran and left in a white, two-door compact vehicle." Investigators believe the vehicle could have been a Honda. No tag information is available.
"The subject entered into the victim's residence by forced entry," Washington added.
Police have released a sketch of what the suspect may look like. He is described as approximately 30 to 35 years of age, somewhere between 5 feet 7 inches and 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighing about 140 pounds. He was wearing jeans and a T-shirt.
Also, the NCSO is asking if anyone recognizes the two individuals who were caught on video in the act of burglarizing the BP station at 387-B Ga. Highway 11 in Social Circle on May 5.
Washington said the two broke into the store about 4 a.m. after they shattered the glass front door by throwing a heavy object at it.
"Once inside, the burglars took cigars and lottery tickets from the store's shelves," Washington said. "After obtaining the property, the subjects fled in a white vehicle toward Interstate 20."
Later the same day, one of the stolen lottery tickets was redeemed at a Texaco station at 3263 Donald Lee Hollowell Parkway in Atlanta.
"If the general public recognizes either of these two subjects, please contact Investigator Dora Brock at 678-625-1453," Washington said.
In other public safety news, the NCSO reports that for the second time this week rush hour traffic was snarled for about an hour while the Newton County Fire Service battled a grass fire along the westbound lanes of the interstate.
NCFS Deputy Chief Tim Smith said the fire broke out about 4 p.m. after a car blew a tire and a spark ignited the grass. The fire was located along Interstate 20 around mile marker 98, between the U.S. Highway 278 and Ga. 11 exits.
Smith said it was a fairly small fire, but it took firefighters about an hour to extinguish it.
"We couldn't get to all of it and had to wait for Forestry (Georgia Forestry Commission personnel) to get there, so there was a little bit of a delay," Smith said.
NCSO spokesman Lt. Mark Mitchell said deputies closed travel in all except one lane due to fire department equipment that had to be parked in the roadway.
"There were some visibility problems, but not much," Mitchell said.
Smith cautioned that despite recent rain showers in the area, brush fires could be expected to occur.
"With the 90-degree days we've been having, it doesn't take long to dry out the vegetation," he said.