Three Lithonia teenagers were arrested Saturday night after going on a carjacking spree down Ga. Highway 36 in Newton County.
"The suspects said they were coming to Covington for a party and wanted another car," said Newton County Sheriff's Lt. Bill Watterson.
Shortly after 8 p.m. Saturday, NCSO deputies responded to a call from the BP gas station located on Ga. Highway 36. Once on scene, the deputies spoke with the store's owner who reported an attempted carjacking.
He reportedly said while he putting some things in his SUV, a white car pulled into the station and circled the parking lot before parking at pump four. Three black men with guns reportedly jumped out of the car and demanded the owner give them the keys to his SUV.
The owner was reportedly too shocked to move, so one of the men stuck him in the back of the head with the butt of a shotgun. The wounded man ran for the store, and the three men reentered their car and drove to the Starrsville Chevron gas station down the street where they allegedly attempted another carjacking.
The offenders were rejected again, this time at the Chevron station when the victim refused to give up his keys and ran into the gas station, Watterson said.
"What the victims did was dangerous," Watterson said. "It worked well for them, which is great, but we recommend that victim's freely give up whatever they have to. We feel that is the best way to stay safe. The most important thing is to stay safe."
Undeterred, the three men reportedly continued to travel south on Ga. Highway 36 until they found a woman parked next to a Shell gas station. The 24-year-old pregnant woman was sitting in her Ford Explorer when the men reportedly pulled a handgun on her and told her they wanted the SUV and her purse.
The victim relented and the suspects reportedly continued to head down the highway in the Explorer and a Lexus 300 Ex, which was previously stolen out of DeKalb County, Watterson said.
A few minutes later, one of the men lost control of the Lexus and crashed the car after hearing approaching sirens, Watterson said. The driver climbed out of the wrecked car and into the Explorer, but by that time NCSO deputies were on scene.
A brief chase ensued before the Explorer struck the side of the road and flipped several times before crashing into a tree near the intersection of Ga. Highway 36 and High Ridge Road. The suspects attempted to flee on foot, but a 14-year-old juvenile was apprehended at the scene.
Another suspect, Derrick Daniels, 18, was arrested after a short foot chase. The final suspect, a 16-year-old juvenile, was arrested later driving a truck he stole in Anderson Circle.
No one was seriously injured during the carjacking spree. The owner of the BP station reportedly refused medical treatment on scene.
All three suspects were charged with hijacking a motor vehicle. Daniels was also charged with possession of marijuana less than one ounce. The 16-year-old was additionally charged with theft by taking.
The shotgun was located Saturday night, but the handgun was not found until Tuesday afternoon, Watterson said. The Newton County Public Works Department and the Newton County Fire Department aided the NCSO in locating the weapon, which required the removal of several trees around the crash site.