Editor's note: A correction has been made to clarify the organization from which the merchandise was stolen.
COVINGTON, Ga. - Covington Police Department and Georgia State Patrol made an arrest in the recovery of thousands of dollars of stolen clothing from Georgia Retailers Organized Crime Alliance found in the back of an SUV after an interstate chase last Friday evening.
"Georgia Retailers Organized Crime Alliance's security says that this will be the second-largest seizure in the U.S. for 2019," CPD Capt. Ken Malcom told The Covington News.
According to the GSP report, a 2019 GMC Yukon was heading west on Interstate 20 around 10 p.m. Aug. 23 in Morgan County when a trooper initiated a traffic stop for speeding. The vehicle did not stop and a pursuit ensued.
"The pursuit traveled through Morgan, Walton and Newton Counties before a trooper performed a P.I.T. maneuver at mile marker 92," according to the GSP report.
Large amounts of clothing were thrown from the vehicle onto the side of the interstate after the P.I.T. maneuver, according to a CPD news release.
"The back-seat passenger was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle. He was airlifted to Grady. The driver and front-seat passenger were injured and transported to Atlanta Medical," according to the GSP report. "The driver was released from the hospital, arrested and taken to Newton County. The front seat passenger was released from the hospital. The back seat passenger remains in the hospital."
GSP charged the driver, Anthony Michael Vasquez, 31, of Queens, New York, with speeding, fleeing, obstruction and serious injury by vehicle. The passengers have been identified as Brian Alvarez, 24, of Middle Village, New York, and Joseph Barriga, 32, of Bronx, New York.
According to the report, the occupants of the vehicle, all of whom are from New York, were involved in theft of merchandise and that portion of the investigation was turned over to CPD.
"On Aug. 29, GROC personnel came to the Covington Police Department to identify the stolen merchandise," according to the CPD release. "GROC discovered that the clothing had been stolen from several department stores along the east coast and was valued at more than $50,000."
CPD will take charges on all three of the individuals on charges of felony theft by receiving stolen property.
The Covington News will continue to update this story as information is received.