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Posted: March 11, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Woman with reported mental illness arrested in car theft at hospital

A woman who family members reportedly said had a known case of schizophrenia reportedly stole another woman’s car from Newton Medical Center Saturday.

A report from the Covington Police Department said an officer responded to the hospital just before 7 p.m., where a woman reportedly said she parked her 2013 Nissan Rogue on the west side of Hospital Drive across from the ER entrance and then discovered it was missing.

A witness at the scene said he saw the car owner park her vehicle. He also said that he saw another woman, described as a white female in her late 60s with grayish-brown hair wearing a gray coat and hospital bracelet, who reportedly looked "dazed," standing in front of his car. According to the witness, the dazed woman, later identified as Alethia Patterson, crossed the street and jumped in the woman’s vehicle.

The witness reportedly watched as Patterson tried backing up the woman’s vehicle, but Patterson reportedly had trouble as the parking brake was on. Patterson then reportedly asked the witness for help removing the parking brake, which he did, and Patterson then left the scene in the vehicle toward U.S. Highway 278.

According to the report, the witness thought Patterson knew the owner of the vehicle. However, when the witness went inside the hospital to ask if the owner knew Patterson, she replied, "No," and they then realized the vehicle was stolen.

The officer and security at the hospital worked together to find the identity of Patterson and her address. Officers went to an Oxford address, which was known as the last address for Patterson, but did not find her or the vehicle at the residence.

One of Patterson’s family members was contacted, who told police that Patterson suffered from schizophrenia. The family member said she dropped Patterson off at the hospital earlier that day, but did not know her location at the time.

The stolen vehicle was entered into the Georgia Crime Information Center database. According to the report, around 9 p.m. officials with the Walton County Sheriff’s Department contacted CPD and said they received a call about a suspicious person being at an address in Monroe. Walton County deputies went to the address, where they found Patterson and the woman’s stolen vehicle.

A CPD officer met with a Walton County Deputy at Alcovy Road and took Patterson into custody. Patterson was charged with a felony of theft by taking of a motor vehicle. She was taken to the Newton County Jail. The car was reportedly released back to its owner.

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