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Arrest made in pawn shop burglary

MORROW, Ga - The Covington Police Department (CPD) has arrested a Clayton County man in connection with the March 20 burglary of Emergency Pawn.

CPD Captain Ken Malcom said Juantavius Gardner, 18, was taken into custody at a shopping center in Clayton County last week by Morrow Police Department, who were acting on a tip.

Malcom said CPD was flooded with calls identifying Gardner as one of the three pawn shop burglars after a video of him buying cookies at the QuikTrip gas station at Hwy-278 and Emory Street before the theft was posted on the CPD YouTube channel, and released to local media outlets, including The Covington News.

Gardner and his accomplices are suspected of using a rented GMC Sierra pickup to smash through the pawn shop’s doors and stealing what were described by owner Ed Turner as several AR-style rifles.

The truck wrecked in a creek near the Bethlehem Baptist Church while fleeing from police. Some of the stolen weapons were reportedly recovered.

Gardner’s gas station video was discovered after investigators found the discarded cookie package in the wrecked truck. They traced the package back to the QT, who pinpointed the time the cookies were sold. CPD obtained the video for that time period and connected Gardner to the truck used in the theft.

According to Malcom, Gardner is connected to two other pawn shop burglaries, one in Conyers and one in Clayton County. He was transported to the Newton County Jail.

Malcom said that CPD investigators are currently looking for the other two suspects in the theft, one of whom has been identified.

Last month, CPD arrested a 16-year-old from Decatur in connection with the Feb 18 burglary at Emergency Pawn.