COVINGTON -- Working in conjunction with Rockdale County authorities, Newton County Sheriff's Office investigators have arrested a Lithonia man in connection with the theft of several automobiles and farm equipment.
According to NCSO Public Information Officer Cortney Morrison, the owner of a vacant home at 2380 Ga. Highway 142 reported that inoperable automobiles and farm equipment went missing from the property where he stored them.
"When he called us in December, he said multiple pieces of farm equipment had been moved and several pieces were missing as well as a couple of cars," Morrison said. "The victim said it looked like a Bobcat was used to move some of the items."
No other clues were available, but in early January the NCSO investigator received another call from the victim who said he and his wife had gone to recycling centers in Rockdale County to see if anyone had gone there and brought items matching the description of those belonging to him.
"He was told a subject had brought vehicles to one of the centers and also farm equipment, but they would not take the farm equipment," Morrison said.
"Because the items were taken to Rockdale County, our investigators informed the Rockdale County Sheriff's Office so it became a joint agency effort to figure out who turned the items in," Morrison said.
Late last week, Morrison said the NCSO investigator received another call from the victim, telling him that more items had been moved around and taken from the property and someone had parked a Bobcat there.
Morrison said the investigator realized that the perpetrator would doubtless return for the Bobcat.
"So, he sets up a perimeter blocking all possible avenues of escape," she said, adding that he called upon traffic patrol and the NCSO Crime Suppression Unit for assistance. "Sure enough, a vehicle comes up and loads up the Bobcat. Through questioning the driver, they were able to ascertain he was the individual who removed the vehicles back in December and had taken another one (Thursday)."
Morrison said the farm equipment was still missing, but investigators have confirmed a Ford truck and a Mercury Sable automobile were crushed at the recycling center. An El Camino had been taken from the property on Thursday and investigators were able to halt the crushing of that vehicle.
Arrested was Marco Stockard, 31, of 3644 Bramblevine Circle, Lithonia, who was charged with three counts of theft by taking, one count of criminal trespass and one count of unlawful removal of a VIN number. The last count involved the trailer he was using to haul the items.
Morrison said more charges against Stockard could be forthcoming and investigators are continuing their investigation into who else might be involved.