Man charged with operating illegal taxi service

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- A man was arrested around 2 a.m. Saturday after he was stopped by a Covington Police officer who had information the man was operating a taxi service without a license.

Dustin Hatcher, 25, of 36 N. Broad St., Porterdale, was arrested and charged with certificate of public convenience and necessity required.

According to a CPD incident report, Hatcher was observed in the area of The Depot Bar and Grill on Emory Street driving a red Ford Expedition.

"He let a male subject out of the front passenger seat and minutes later, met with three females and a male in front of the bar. The subjects spoke with Hatcher and all five then entered the Expedition with Hatcher driving," the report states.

The officer said he noticed that the van next pulled into the nearby Quick Trip and parked, but no one exited the vehicle. Then after several minutes, the vehicle pulled out, crossed Emory Street and stopped at Checkers. After leaving Checkers, the officer caught up with the vehicle and stopped it on Turner Lake Road next to Zaxby's.

According to the incident report, officers had been previously informed that Hatcher instructed his passengers, if asked, to tell the police that they were all friends and he was giving them a free ride home. When questioned, three out of four of the passengers Saturday night repeated that story; however, the fourth passenger said Hatcher had picked them up and was charging $20 each for a ride home.

When confronted, the incident report states Hatcher admitted that he had picked the subjects up and was giving them a ride for $20 and that he was operating as an unlicensed taxi service.

In other crime news, a package containing 10 Apple iPads has been reported stolen from the new Flint Hill Elementary School on Airport Road.

The iPads, which were received on July 14, were placed in a classroom and "secured as much as possible," according to information given to the Newton County Sheriff's Office. The theft was discovered on July 18, but it is unknown exactly when it occurred.

The iPads were described as black and silver and valued at $500 each.