Copper thieves have been ravaging the county of late, striking at homes, businesses and public utilities alike.
A Mansfield landscaping and irrigation business reported that over $15,000 worth of copper wire was stolen sometime between 5 p.m. Aug 13 and 7 a.m. Aug. 14.
An employee came in Thursday morning to find someone had cut the chain on a storage container and taken 47 rolls of irrigation wire. Thieves had reportedly broken into that same container two weeks before and taken several rolls of wire, and a heavy load of rocks wedged against the container door apparently hadn't deterred them this second time.
Tire tracks from two missing push carts led deputies to a clearing in the woods behind the container. Father down a logging road behind the woods, they found the carts in a road ditch along with 12 rolls of wire and tire tracks from a vehicle leading away.
Investigators were called to process the scene.
Porterdale's Public Works Building was burglarized sometime before Aug. 15, 7:30 a.m., of more than $1,100 worth of copper wire and equipment, according to a Porterdale Police Department report. Along with two coils and parts of scrap copper, an STIHL edger was stolen as well. The perpetrators broke a gate lock and cut a window screen to gain access to the property. A black flashlight was found at the rear of the building, but police were unable to lift prints.
The city of Covington's Utilities Department reported on Aug. 22 that an unknown amount of copper was stolen when the thieves cut a hole in the chain link fence surrounding the property.
Thieves also took a 3.5 ton air conditioning unit at a vacant home before Aug. 20, about $635 of building supplies from a home under construction around Aug. 18, and caused $350 worth of damage by cutting the copper lines in an air conditioning unit at another vacant home between Aug. 10 and Aug. 21.
Softball purse snatchings
Two women parked at the Turner Lake Park ballpark reported that someone had entered their unlocked cars and stolen their purses during a Saturday softball game Aug. 23, according to a Covington Police Department report.
One victim told police that she went to watch her daughter play softball around 9 a.m. When she returned at 1 p.m., her tan cloth purse was missing from her Chrysler PT Cruiser along with her three bank cards, social security cards, a Verizon Crazer phone, and $60 in cash.
The other victim also parked her 2006 Ford Endeavor around 9 a.m. and returned at 1:20 p.m. to find her black leather purse and her daughter's black cloth purse were both swiped. The purses contained driver's license, a debit card, five credit cards, and about $1,100 in cash, and a necklace with a gold charm of the daughter's name.
Bag full of food
A Food Depot employee called Covington police after seeing a white female shopper concealing food items in her camouflage purse on Aug. 23. When he confronted her about it outside the store and grabbed the purse, she reportedly dropped it and ran. In the purse was $37 worth of food, including ground chuck beef, boneless chicken breasts, smoked links, deli chicken, ranch dressing and toasted cheese.
Officers found her at Bojangle's and charged her with theft by shoplifting.
Backyard burglary camping
A Covington resident found a strange man sleeping in his yard Aug. 18 with a bag full of the resident's items and a sledge hammer and knife nearby, according to a Covington Police Department report.
Bobby Joemerro Rhodes, 27, of Covington was found lying on his back in the back yard when police arrived about 8:45 a.m. Next to him was a large sledge hammer, a Timer sheath knife, several packs of sweet rolls, a sleeping bag, a large camouflage bag and a red bag, according to the report.
The camouflage bag belonged to the resident, according to the report, and contained masks and a coat also in camouflage pattern, a small roll of duct tape, an undershirt, bath towel, cap, and a Nelly and Tupac CD albums.
The red bag held more clothes and personal items, such as socks, baby powder, boxer shorts, new athletic shoes, black T-shirts, camouflage pants, and one container of Suave deodorant. It also held two screw drivers.
Rhodes was charged with burglary and theft by taking and booked into the Newton County Detention Center.
Moon over Newton County
A Covington resident complained of being mooned by a passing motorcyclist while driving on Brown Bridge Road Aug. 15, according to a Newton County Sheriff's Office report.
The driver told deputies that Brian Ragan, of Covington, pulled alongside of her, as if trying to get her attention, and then exposed his backside while passing her and the truck behind her on a double yellow line. She also reported the truck was tail-gating closely with high beams while blowing a loud horn.
Ragan reportedly admitted he was driving recklessly while trying to pass his friend in the truck, but said he had only pulled up his shirt and pointed at his buttocks and had not pulled down his pants.
Ragan was charged with reckless driving and violating his limited instructional driving permit by riding at night.