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7 stores hit by burglars

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Sheriff's Office is investigating burglaries at six convenience stores throughout the county during the early morning hours Sunday, and the Covington Police Department is looking into the Saturday burglary of a Newton Plaza store.

The convenience stores were entered by breaking either the glass windows or doors in the fronts of the stores.

"They were all hit between midnight and 5 a.m.," said NCSO Public Information Officer Deputy Courtney Morrison. "Five out of the six had the front windows broken and one had the front door broken."

The stores that were burglarized are:

* The Pure Gas Station at 50 Morningside Drive;

* Happy J's Food Mart at 15825 Ga. Highway 36;

* Henderson's Grocery at 11874 Ga. Highway 36;

* South Fork at 10571 Flat Shoals Road;

* T&H One Stop at 14625 Ga. Highway 36;

* J.J.'s at 298 Ga. Highway 162 Connector.

Morrison said investigators are still compiling lists of items taken at each location, but it mainly consisted of any cash that was on location, sometimes taking the entire cash register, cigarettes, cigar wrappers and lottery tickets.

"On some no entry was made because of burglar bars on the windows," Morrison said, adding that even then the culprits were able to stick their hands through the bars and snatch what they could.

"Investigators are reviewing surveillance video footage from the stores and from the surrounding area," she said, but at this point do not know for sure that the incidents are connected nor do they know how many suspects are involved.

"We're asking anyone who may have any information about one or more of these incidents to contact us," Morrison said.

Call the NCSO at 678-625-1400 or tips can be given to the NCSO anonymously at 678-625-5007 or through their website at www.newtonsheriffga.org and clicking on "anonymous tips." Those who want a response from NCSO personnel should leave contact information.

In other crime news, the Covington Police Department is investigating a burglary at Radio Shack in Newton Plaza on U.S. Highway 278 around 11 p.m. Saturday.

Officers went to the scene when a burglar alarm sounded and found the front door ajar.

Apparently an estimated $14,000 in merchandise was taken from locked cages in the rear of the store, which included cell phones, GPS units and other miscellaneous electronic equipment.

" ... the locks had been either pried open or the locks cut off of them," according to a CPD incident report.

Detectives ask that anyone with information on this case call the CPD at 770-786-7605. Tips can be given to the CPD anonymously by visiting the website at www.covingtonpolice.com and clicking on "Most Wanted" and then "Anonymous Tips."