With the increased price of gas, apparently even car thieves are finding themselves running on precariously low tanks.
Covington Police Sgt. Chris Cain came upon a man and a juvenile pushing a gold Lexus with its hazard lights on near the Wal-Mart parking lot around 3 a.m. Friday, according to a Covington Police Department report.
The man, Tyrone McCrimager, told Cain they had run out of gas. Cain offered to give him a ride to the gas station.
The car was out of the travel lane but McCrimager was reportedly adamant about pushing it into a parking space, even getting back in the car and trying unsuccessfully to crank the engine.
In the meantime, a check on the car's tag came back with information that the car had been stolen out of Riverdale.
When McCrimager and the juvenile began walking back to the patrol car, Cain drew his weapon, ordered them onto the ground and took them into custody.
In the gold Lexus, the officer also found three large plastic bins with clothes still in packaging, an Apple iPhone and other miscellaneous items.
McCrimager was taken to the Newton County Detention Center and charged with theft by receiving a stolen motor vehicle and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. The juvenile was taken to the CPD station and charged with theft by receiving a motor vehicle.
Police deal with a wide variety of situations on patrol, but the last thing Porterdale Police Officer J. Cripps expected to deal with when he signed on for duty Aug.17 was his patrol car going up in roaring flames.
Around 10:20 p.m., Cripps reportedly heard a loud "pop" from underneath the hood of the patrol car while he was en route to check on a car that reportedly had no tag.
He became concerned when a large cloud of smoke began streaming from the bottom of the car. That concern quickly turned into alarm as flames started shooting up over the hood and windshield on the driver's side.
He quickly pulled over to the side off Crowell Road and took the K9 officer, Beau, out of the back. He tried to pull out some equipment with the assistance of another officer on the scene, who tried to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, to no avail. The two officers backed off, realizing there was little they could do and remembering that the car still had a full tank of gas.
Firefighters arrived moments later to put out the flames, which shot up at least 10 feet high.
PPD Chief Wayne Digby said a transmission line in the car, a 2000 Ford Crown Victoria, had leaked transmission fluid onto the hot exhaust system, igniting the fluid.
Most patrol vehicles need to be replaced after about six to nine years, depending on their usage, he said.
He recently received a quote for a new, fully equipped patrol vehicle with a K9 kennel at about $25,000.
The department has seven vehicles and six patrol vehicles, which are take-home vehicles.