Covington Police Department (CPD) Officer John Alex Laudermilk was arrested by the Newton County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) Wednesday.
Laudermilk was charged with theft by receiving, giving false statements in a political subdivision and concealing the identity of a vehicle. Because the stolen property was received at Laudermilk's property in Newton County, the case will go through the Newton County Court System.
The termination for Laudermilk, a patrol division officer who started with the CPD in June of 2013, was started by the CPD Thursday morning. An investigation was first launched after an anonymous tip received by the Covington Police Department (CPD) on Sept. 22 through Crime Stoppers. Crime Stoppers is a tip line citizens can use to anonymously submit information about a suspected crime.
"Everybody here is disappointed from the chief on down," CPD Capt. Craig Treadwell said. "The Covington Police Department is going to do the right thing, we try to do that all the time. If these charges are in fact true than I think we've done the right thing."
According to NCSO Sgt. Michael Cunningham, the tip called into Crime Stoppers alleged that a CPD officer may be in the possession of a stolen Harley Davidson motorcycle that belonged to the DeKalb County Police Department (DCPD). According to Treadwell the theft occurred in 2011 when Laudermilk was employed by the DCPD.
The CPD turned the information over to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI), which notified the DCPD. An investigation by the DCPD was then launched. During the investigation, CPD remained in contact with the DeKalb County police, supplying any necessary information.
Wednesday, in conjunction with DCPD, NCSO developed probable cause to obtain a search warrant for his home on Stacia Drive in Covington.
“Located and seized at the property was the Harley Davidson motorcycle,” Cunningham said in a press release.
Laudermilk was booked into the Newton County Detention Center.
Theft by receiving refers to the 2010 Georgia State Law 16-8-7, receiving, disposing of or retaining stolen property. Laudermilk's charges include giving false statements to a political entity such as a city, county or district.