COVINGTON -- The Covington Police Department has nabbed three suspects and charged them in connection with bomb threats made at local Walmarts earlier this month.
Two of the suspects -- Chakedra Blocker of 55 Beaver Dam Road, Covington and Brianna Black of 10133 Settlers Grove Road, Covington -- are Walmart employees. Blocker and Black had their friend, Latrell Pitts, of 6143 Green St., Covington, call in bomb threats to the Covington Walmart in exchange for cash on Sept. 6 and 9, according to Covington Police.
"According to the investigation, the two employees convinced him to make the calls to the Covington store in an attempt to get the store closed during the time they were supposed to be working," said Capt. Ken Malcom.
The trio is also behind the bomb threat made at the Conyers Walmart earlier this month, according to police. "The call was made from a cell phone while they were in the store," Malcom said.
He added that the three were attempting to steal beer while the store was being evacuated but were unsuccessful because employees were stationed nearby.
The CPD's Criminal Investigation Division, led by Capt. Philip Bradford, Det. Brent Fuesting and Det. Jeff Bruno, was able to trace the phone used to make the calls to Pitts. During an interview, Pitts confessed to calling in all three bomb threats, Malcom said.
All three have been charged with two counts of making terroristic threats by the CPD. Lt. Jackie Dunn of the Conyers Police Department said charges will be made there as well.
"We do take calls like this very seriously," said Malcom. "Sometimes hundreds of people can be in a store like Walmart and our first concern is for the safety of the employees and patrons but then also the economic impact to the store itself. When it's shut down for a period of time there's an obvious loss there."
Stores were evacuated in each instance while local law enforcement investigated and determined the threats were hoaxes.
In other crime news, the Newton County Sheriff's Office is investigating an apparent shooting Tuesday night in the Kirkland Road area.
A Newton County man was admitted to Rockdale Medical Center Tuesday night at around 10 p.m. with a gunshot wound to the back. Hospital staff followed proper procedure and notified law enforcement. A nurse told the deputy that was dispatched that the victim stated he had been shot in the Kirkland Road area.
"Right now, it's an ongoing investigation," said Lt. Tyrone Oliver with the NCSO. "The victim is uncooperative and we have no further information, no crime scene and no suspects."
Oliver said the man's injury was not life threatening.
Anyone who has any information about the incident can call the NCSO at 678-625-1400 or go to their website at www.newtonsheriffga.org or call 678-625-5007 and make an anonymous tip.