COVINGTON — The Dollar General Store on Ga. Highway 36 was robbed at gunpoint just after closing time Friday night, according to the Covington Police Department.
CPD Public Information Officer Capt. Ken Malcom said a black man entered the store about 10 p.m. brandishing a black semi-automatic handgun and carrying a black plastic bag. He demanded money from the cash register and the safe.
“There were two employees in the store and no customers,” Malcom said. “The suspect left with the money, running towards Highway 36. Our K-9 was able to track the suspect for a period of time to a location where a vehicle may have possibly been waiting for him.”
The man was dressed in black shoes, black pants, a black hooded sweatshirt, gloves with white on the backside and blue on the inside, a black baseball cap with a red bill and sunglasses.
In other crime news, the Newton County Sheriff’s Office has arrested three individuals in connection with possession of a quantity of marijuana after they showed up at the emergency room at Newton Medical Center Friday afternoon with one of them suffering from a gunshot wound to the leg.
NCSO Public Information Officer Cortney Morrison said the gunshot victim said he and his friends went to the Texaco Food Mart at 3633 Salem Road between 4 and 5 p.m. His friends went inside the store and he remained outside in the parking lot.
“He said he didn’t know what happened. All he could remember was hearing a gun shot and his leg started to tingle,” Morrison said.
The two men who brought him to the ER were still in the parking lot and Morrison said they told the same story when questioned by deputies.
“They said they didn’t know what happened. They went into the store to get some items, came back out and found their friend with a gunshot wound to his leg,” she said.
An NCSO investigator was called to the scene and searched the Alero which the three were in when they arrived at the hospital and discovered two handguns — a .38-caliber and a .22-caliber which came back stolen during a burglary in East Country Woods subdivision in September 2012. Further searching revealed a quantity of marijuana in a large zip-type bag, a jar of marijuana, scales and sandwich-size plastic bags.
A witness was located at the convenience store who told deputies that the two men did enter the store and the third man stayed outside with the Alero which he moved to the end of the parking lot near the exit. The witness said a Black SUV pulled up next to the car and three more black males got out and surrounded the vehicle. Seconds later, they jumped back in the SUV and took off. The Alero was then driven back to the front of the store and picked up the two men.
Morrison said the witness said no gunshot was heard; however, the shooting is still under investigation.
Meanwhile the men who arrived at the hospital in the Alero have been arrested. They are Willie Earl Simmons, 24, of 10 Hazelhurst Drive, William Ulysses Lackey, 18, of 30 Whitehead Drive, and gunshot victim David Green, 27, of 45 Franklin Way. They all face charges of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a firearm while committing a crime and theft by receiving stolen property. More charges could follow.
Also, both the NCSO and the CPD are investigating purse snatching incidents that occurred Saturday at area grocery stores.
The first incident occurred about 5 p.m. at Publix on Brown Bridge Road when a 70-year-old woman had her purse snatched from her shopping cart while shopping inside the store.
Morrison said the suspect, a black man, ran toward the front of the store and went outside and got into a small, silver or gray car which drove off down Brown Bridge Road in the direction of Covington.
The second incident occurred about 10:45 that night in the parking lot of Kroger on U.S. Highway 278.
A woman told CPD officers she had completed her shopping and had placed her buggy beside her vehicle and had left her purse in the buggy. She began talking on her cellphone and a black man wearing a black jacket with a black hood suddenly appeared and grabbed her purse and took off running across the parking lot. He entered a “silver, four-door, newer model car” which appeared to be occupied by three or four other black men.