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Posted: January 30, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Man charged with stealing car after release

A LaGrange man, released from the Newton County Jail Tuesday under a charge of theft by receiving stolen property from May 2013, reportedly stole a man’s car from a gas station the next day.

Officials with the Covington Police Department and Newton County Sheriff’s Office apprehended and arrested Jabri Twainyol Spence, 31, Wednesday evening, after he reportedly rode off in a man’s Honda.

A report from the police department said officers responded to a Shell gas station on Alcovy Road, where a man said a black male, later identified as Spence, stole his 1994 red Honda Civic sometime around 7 p.m.

According to the report, the man told officers that he parked his car directly in front of the gas station’s door and went inside to buy a couple of lottery tickets. The man’s car was reportedly left running and unlocked while he made his transaction.

"(He stated that) as he was waiting on his tickets that he saw his car reversing out of the parking space," reported CPD officer Gordon Myers. "(He) stated that he ran outside to see an unknown male behind the wheel of his vehicle and he jumped on the hood of his vehicle trying to stop the male from leaving."

The man reportedly held on to the hood of the car as it was reversing. He was subsequently thrown off the hood, which in turn ripped the driver’s side mirror off and caused his pants to be ripped and his left knee to be scraped, bruised and swollen.

Spence reportedly sped away from the Shell parking lot and got on Interstate 20 heading west. The victim said he did not get a good look at Spence, as the events happened so quickly, but he described him as being black, in his 20s or 30s, and possibly wearing a red shirt with no hood.

Deputies with the Newton County Sheriff’s Office were alerted to be on the lookout for the vehicle.

The report said NCSO deputy Michael Cunningham noticed the vehicle as he was coming off the access road in Rockdale County at Salem Road.

Deputy Cunningham notified CPD officers that the vehicle was parked at the Citgo gas station at the intersection of Salem and Flat Shoals roads.

When Cunningham ran the tag through dispatch, it was confirmed to be the vehicle stolen. According to the report, the NCSO deputy arrested Spence without incident around 7:30 p.m.

CPD officers reviewed the surveillance video of the theft with the victim at the Shell station, and then met with Deputy Cunningham at the Citgo in Rockdale County to positively identify the suspect.

Spence was transferred to the custody of Covington police officers and taken to the Newton County Jail. The victim’s vehicle was returned to him on scene.

Spence was charged with felony theft-by-taking and aggravated assault.

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