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Newton Sheriff's Office K-9 nabs suspected shoplifter

COVINGTON -- Newton County Sheriff's Office K-9 Pete got his man last week when a suspect in a shoplifting incident ran from deputies.

According to NCSO Public Information Officer Courtney Morrison, a deputy was in the Walmart parking lot on Salem Road doing paperwork when a member of the store's management ran out to alert her that a man who had attempted to take a shopping cart full of merchandise from the store without paying for it had just fled in a Honda Civic. The manager was able to furnish a tag number, as well.

Morrison said the deputy began trying to locate the vehicle and was alerted by 911 dispatch that a call had come in from someone else who stated the car had left the parking lot on Brown Bridge Road, headed in the direction of Salem Road, and was now in the CVS parking lot.

"The deputy went to CVS and located the vehicle. She noticed the vehicle was occupied by a female in the driver's seat and attempted to identify the driver," Morrison said. "Then two white males walked out of CVS and appeared startled to see the deputy there."

Morrison said one of the male's admitted he was with the driver of the Honda, while the second male said he was not and attempted to walk past the deputy. After repeated commands by the deputy to stop, the male fled the parking lot and the deputy lost sight of him.

Other deputies came to the area and the K-9 Unit comprised of Deputy Chad Hunt and Pete arrived.

"They initiated the track which led them behind Salem Springs Mobile Home Park," Morrison said. "Pete continued tracking the subject and tracked directly to where the suspect was. He was arrested without incident."

Nicholas Atkinson, 20, of 2251 Lakeway Drive, Dacula, was charged with theft by taking -- shoplifting and obstruction of law enforcement officers.

Morrison said the buggy full of merchandise was recovered, but six bottles of make-up were found in the pockets of the suspect. In total there were 33 items worth $347 involved. Also, Atkinson was found to have an active warrant out of Barrow County and remains in the Newton County Detention Center. No one else was charged in the incident.