Sheriff witnesses man breaking into cars in Kroger parking lot

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- Newton County Sheriff Ezell Brown witnessed a crime in progress Saturday night and alerted Covington Police officers, who arrested Shawen Okeefe, 27, of 5162 Worsham St., the next day and charged him with loitering and prowling in connection with the incident.

According to a CPD incident report, Brown told 911 dispatchers that he had spotted a subject attempting to enter several autos in the Kroger parking lot on U.S. Highway 278 about 9:30 p.m.

"According to Sheriff Brown, Mr. Okeefe actually opened one car door when the owner appeared and asked Mr. Okeefe what he was doing. At that time, Sheriff Brown identified himself as law enforcement and asked Mr. Okeefe to remain at the location," the report states.

But the suspect got into his vehicle and took off with Brown following, and pulled up in front of his Worsham Street address.

"Upon arriving ... Sheriff Brown pulled in front of Mr. Okeefe in order to make him stop, in which Mr. Okeefe's vehicle struck Sheriff Brown's vehicle," the report states.

At that point, Brown said Okeefe jumped out of his vehicle, jumped a fence and took off running and was able to get away from him. The Georgia State Patrol was summoned to the scene to investigate the car crash.

Okeefe was apprehended the next day and according to the incident report stated when he saw the blue lights on the sheriff's vehicle he ran because he has had dealings with law enforcement before and he was scared.

The Georgia State Patrol charged Okeefe with hit and run, fleeing and attempting to elude and reckless driving.