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3 Atlanta men accused of burglarizing BP, running from police

COVINGTON — Three Atlanta men are accused of robbing a gas station in Covington and leading officers and K9 units on a foot chase before being arrested.

A burglary alarm was activated around 3:30 a.m. Thursday at the BP gas station located at 6229 Turner Lake Road. Responding officers with the Covington Police Department found an orange safe on a U-Haul dolly in the back yard of the business and discovered the cinder block wall at the back of the building had been broken, allowing the burglars to enter through the restroom area.

“Ceiling tiles in the restroom were removed and alarm wires in the suspended ceiling were cut,” the incident report states. “The CPU tower containing the video surveillance hard drive was missing from the office.”

Officers also noticed drag marks that indicated the orange safe was dragged from behind the counter.

CPD officers called for a K9 unit that began to track the suspects from the rear of the store down Old Brown Bridge Road. At the same time, another officer saw an older model Chevrolet Suburban that appeared to be occupied by several people turn onto Washington Street from Old Brown Bridge Road. According to the CPD, the officer noticed that the driver threw a glove out of the driver’s side window. He attempted to initiate a traffic stop, but the vehicle continued driving.

“As the vehicle approached the stop sign on Reynolds at South Emory, the driver drove straight across into a short driveway,” the CPD reported. “The vehicle continued until it struck a fence and stopped. Six subjects then exited the Suburban through the driver door, front passenger door, rear passenger door and the rear cargo hatch, and ran into a wooded area.”

Officers, with assistance from the Newton County Sheriff’s Office K9 deputy, chased the suspects and ultimately arrested three men.

Merlin Smothers, 28, of 1739 Sylvan Road, was found in the basement of a vacant business on Washington Street; and Larry Jones, 37, of 1280 Greymont Drive, was found in the woods behind a residence on Washington Street. A Newton County Sheriff’s office deputy found Giacobi Kelly, 37, of 2012 Meador Ave., in the woods near the Suburban. All were charged with burglary, obstruction of law enforcement officers and possession of tools of the commission of a crime.