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Suspected armed robber leads police on high-speed chase to Stonecrest

COVINGTON — A Loganville man who allegedly robbed a discount store at gunpoint, then led police on a high-speed chase west on Interstate 20, was eventually caught attempting to shoplift clothes at the Mall at Stonecrest.

According to the Covington Police Department, 41-year-old Stephen Cheale Young of 3720 Sunny Hill Drive in Loganville, entered Fred’s Super Dollar store at 6170 U.S. Highway 278 around 2 p.m. Sunday.

He gave the clerk cash to pay for a Twinkie and when she opened the cash drawer to give him change, he allegedly drew a gun and demanded all the money in the register, the incident report filed by the CPD states. Young reportedly told the clerk that “his wife had left him and he was in a bad mood and did not care if he lived or died.”

Young then got into his van and drove away.

CPD Officer Daniel Digby, who was responding to the robbery call, saw Young’s van traveling at a high rate of speed along Wheat Street and run the stop sign at Wheat and Mill streets.

As Young approached U.S. 278, Digby attempted to pull him over, but the suspect continued to drive at a high rate of speed until he pulled onto I-20 westbound.

“Once on I-20, the van reached speeds over 100 mph. The van weaved in and out of traffic, attempting to elude officers. The van drove down the emergency lane passing vehicles, causing debris to fly into traffic,” Digby’s report states.

At one point, Young lost control on the exit ramp to West Avenue in Conyers, but was able to recover and resume travel on the interstate.

Young then pulled off at the Turner Hill exit and turned left toward the Stonecrest mall.

Officers lost contact with Young until they learned that an officer with the DeKalb County Police Department had arrested him for attempting to shoplift clothes at a store inside the mall.

“DeKalb police advised that the male came into a store in the mall and changed clothes in the dressing room and attempted to walk out of the store without paying for the clothes,” the incident report states.

When an employee confronted Young, he allegedly struck her in the face with his hand. A DeKalb County police officer and a security officer had to fight Young to get handcuffs on him, according to the report.

Officers responding to the scene located Young’s van and found an empty black Airsoft pistol behind the bushes nearby and a Twinkie on the passenger side floor board.

Investigators also said they found the clothes Young had been wearing during the robbery inside the store’s dressing room, along with a Fred’s plastic grocery bag.

Officer Digby arrived at the scene, and Young was placed in the back of his patrol car.

As he was leaving the mall to drive back to the Covington Police Department, Digby noticed that Young had moved his handcuffs to the front of his body, so he stopped his car to re-handcuff him.

Digby reported that Young began to resist so another officer used his Taser as a stun gun to subdue the man.

He was transported to the Newton County Detention Center and was charged with armed robbery and fleeing and attempting to elude officers.