COVINGTON -- Approximately a dozen autos were entered in the Alcovy Crossing subdivision sometime between 1 and 6 a.m. Saturday, according to the Newton County Sheriff's Office.
"Investigators are working the case right now," said NCSO spokesman 1st Lt. Mark Mitchell, who added that items ranging from pistols to pocketbooks to personal information was taken.
He said that many of the vehicles were locked, but evidence showed they were entered by force and items taken.
One woman reported her pocketbook was taken from her unlocked vehicle and she discovered the contents dumped in her driveway. Twenty dollars had been removed from her wallet. Another resident said he heard about the break-ins and checked his own vehicle and discovered that someone had forcibly opened his glove compartment and took a gun and his iPod. Another family had two cars broken into which resulted in change and a $750 iPad being stolen.
Mitchell said as of July 1, the law has been changed and when caught the perpetrators would be looking at charges of burglary in the second degree.
"There is still an entering auto law, but there is now a burglary in the first degree and burglary in the second degree. Burglary in the second degree now covers vehicles being entered," he said.
Mitchell said sometimes simply locking your vehicle overnight is a deterrent to this type of crime, but many of these vehicles were locked and the perpetrators shattered windows to gain entry.
"We would ask people to bring any valuable items inside instead of leaving them in a vehicle. Even if you haven't had problems in your area or neighborhood, it's best to bring valuables inside," Mitchell said. "Also, if you hear anything unusual overnight or even if you hear a dog barking, get up and check on it and if you see anything unusual, relay that to 911."
In other crime news, around 4:15 a.m. Saturday a bullet was found to have entered one of the side glass panels to the front door of the CVS drug store at 4192 Salem Road.
Mitchell said when deputies arrived at the scene they were unable to locate any suspects, witnesses or vehicles in the area, but they now have information that there was possibly some type of "exchange" between the occupants of two vehicles known to be in the vicinity.
"We're trying to determine that right now. We're having investigators canvass the area and contacting store owners to see if they have any kind of video surveillance that might help us out," he said.
Also, there was a shooting at 2415 Elks Club Road around 10:30 p.m. Saturday and the bullet apparently struck a man in the right wrist and exited his hand below the thumb. Mitchell said investigators are looking into the shooting "to determine exactly what happened" and whether or not alcohol was a factor in the incident.
According to the NCSO incident report, there was a party at the residence and the complainant said that one of the guests had a handgun which he allowed him and the occupant of the home to "fire rounds into the wood line.
"The complainant said that he and the occupant of the home walked to the left side of the home and began discharging the weapon into the wood line to the north side of the home. He stated he fired one or two rounds and then heard his friend scream, 'I think I've been hit,' and grab his wrist. He said he does not remember how many rounds were fired, but said it was probably one or two. He stated it happened very quickly and when he discharged the weapon, his friend started screaming. He helped wrap his friend's wrist with a rag and called for help."
The gun involved was a Glock .40-caliber semi-automatic. Neither the owner of the gun nor the other guests were able to shed any light on the incident. The injured man was taken to Piedmont Hospital for treatment.
"Whether it's going to be an accident or something intentional remains to be seen," Mitchell said.
Also, the Covington Police Department was called to Walmart Friday night just after 9 p.m. when an employee reported receiving a phoned-in bomb threat. The employee said the caller, a female, had called twice, the second time saying they had 30 minutes to clear the store.
The store was evacuated and searched, but nothing was located. Also, a K-9 deputy from Morgan County searched the scene, but found nothing. A short time later, business resumed as usual.