COVINGTON — The Newton County Sheriff’s Office reported three business burglaries within two days.
The Rocky Plains Community Store at 2310 Ga. Highway 212 was burglarized sometime between 10 p.m. Sunday and 6 a.m. Monday after a large hole was knocked through the back brick wall of the store, according to NCSO Public Information Office Cortney Morrison.
Once inside the location, the ATM machine was entered using some sort of cutting device and an undetermined amount of cash was taken from there, as well as from other locations in the store. Also, an estimated $40,000 worth of cigarettes were stolen, as well as the store’s DVR security system.
Witnesses report seeing several white men hanging around the store prior to closing time Sunday, Morrison said.
“The crime scene was processed and evidence was collected,” she said.
Sometime late Monday night or early Tuesday morning, deputies were called to JJ’s Grocery at 298 Ga. Highway 162 Connector, where the front door had been smashed.
Morrison said the owner of the business had arrived to open the store for the day and discovered that several cartons of cigarettes had been taken, along with several rolls of lottery tickets.
“Stolen was $700 worth of Newport cigarettes,” Morrison said, adding that crime scene technicians also processed this scene.
Also overnight Monday, a burglary was reported by All Star Muffler at 10710 Covington Bypass.
According to the owner of the business, the lock was cut off a 53-foot trailer used for storing used tires and 21 tires of various sizes were removed. Also, five used tires were removed from the front of the store. The loss is estimated to be approximately $750.
“To have three business burglaries in such a small time frame is unusual so we are working to establish whether or not they are connected,” Morrison said.
In other crime news, a 39-year-old Oxford man has been arrested and charged with child molestation in connection with an incident involving a 4-year-old girl, according to Morrison.
She said the NCSO was called out in early February because the 4-year-old made an outcry to her father regarding an incident that allegedly occurred during Christmas involving a man known to the family.
“Upon hearing that, the father immediately called law enforcement. The incident was turned over to investigators and they conducted an investigation and gathered enough evidence for probable cause to make an arrest,” Morrison said.
Scott Oneal Allen, of 107-A Moore St., remains at Newton County Detention Center under $10,000 bond, she said.
Jail records show that Allen’s employer is Newton County Public Works.