COVINGTON — The Covington Police Department has arrested a man described as a “predator,” who has allegedly admitted to committing a number of crimes against female escorts.
According to Capt. Ken Malcom, the CPD has been investigating reports of robberies in the area of Woodland Avenue and Primrose Cove for the past four months. He said officers began responding to calls in the area from residents who saw a suspicious person running through their neighborhood in the early morning hours and sometimes would report the sound of a woman screaming.
In response, officers would check the area, but could not find possible victims and received no reports of assaults, robberies or burglaries, Malcom said.
After the first couple of calls, he said, officers began stopping suspicious vehicles and would speak with the driver or passenger in the car. Through those interactions, officers learned that female escorts from Atlanta were often contacted by a man through Backpages.com and arranged to meet a man at a random home in that area, usually Louise Street, Old Monticello Street, Woodland Avenue or Primrose Cove.
When they would meet, the man would tell the women that he lived in the basement of his parents’ home, and they had to go in the back yard because he didn’t want to disturb his parents.
“Each time, he would strong arm the victim, steal her purse, cash and cell phone and then run,” Malcom said.
None of the homes where the suspect would take the victims was his residence and none of the homeowners was aware this activity was taking place, Malcom said.
Sometime around 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, police were again called to the area when a resident on Louise Street reported seeing a suspicious person walk past his home and then disappear behind a home on Martha Court, according to the incident report.
Officer Alex Laudermilk responded to the area. He reported that he walked in the direction where the suspicious person was last seen. As he approached an open area behind one of the homes, he swept the area with the light of his flashlight and saw a man standing over a female behind 8122 Primrose Cove.
“The male pushed the female and ran around the corner of the house out of my line of sight,” the officer stated.
Laudermilk then checked on the victim, who was upset and crying, hiding behind some shrubs. She told the officer that the man, who was later identified as 26-year-old James Scott of 8126 Woodland Ct., had robbed her.
Laudermilk took the victim to the Covington Police Department where she reported that she met Scott a few days earlier in DeKalb County and they arranged to meet at the home in Covington to “hang out,” the report states
When she arrived at the home in the early morning hours Wednesday and got out of her car, Scott “grabbed her by the face and told her to shut up and not say a word,” the incident report states,
He then forced the victim to perform a sex act and spit on her face. It was at that point that Officer Laudermilk shined his flashlight on them, she reported.
CPD Detective Brent Fuesting showed the victim a photo lineup and she identified Scott as the man who robbed her, according to the report.
Officers went to Scott’s residence on Woodland Avenue, where he was arrested and has been charged in four incidents of robbery.
“He confessed to committing a number of robberies and admitted he has committed many more,” Malcom said.
He said none of the four victims who have come forward reported injuries.
Malcom said he considers Scott to be a predator.
“Criminals generally fall in two categories: either they’re opportunists who take advantage of an opportunity that may arise or they plan out their crimes. These crimes were well planned out,” he said.
“Many more incidents of this nature appear to have gone unreported due to the victims’ profession,” Malcom said. “We are hoping that other victims will come forward.”
Anyone with more information is asked to contact Detective Fuesting at 770-786-4425 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org