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CPD makes arrest following chase, Theme School lockdown
Tyler Papastefanou

UPDATE (Aug. 11, 8:35 a.m.): Tyler Papastefanou was booked into the Newton County Jail around 3:30 p.m. Friday. His mugshot has been added to this story. 


Editor's note: This story has been updated with the correct spelling of the suspect's last name. 

COVINGTON, Ga. - A New Jersey man is behind bars in Newton County after an arrest Friday on a Newton County School System playground following more than an hour-long search and an incident at the Alcovy Road Waffle House. 

Covington Police Department Captain Ken Malcom said Tyler Papastefanou, 27, of West Orange, New Jersey, was involved in a dispute with a female at Waffle House. The female was accompanied by a 3-year-old child. 

Papastefanou reportedly "slammed the child into a wall" and left the breakfast restaurant. 

Malcom said this alarmed restaurant patrons and CPD was called and began pursuit. Papastefanou reportedly fled from police and eventually left his vehicle to start a foot pursuit. He fled to the wooded area on Elm Street, adjacent to the Newton County Theme School. 

CPD set up a perimeter of the area, which partially covered NCTS's playground, and notified the school of the suspicious person in the area. 

Malcom said officer searched the area for more than an hour and deployed two drones - provided by the Covington Fire Department and Newton County Sheriff's Office - and released a K-9 unit into the woods. 

Papastefanou exited the woods onto the school's playground after about an hour-and-a-half search of the area and was arrested by CPD officers and NCSO school resource officers. 

Papastefanou is charged with cruelty to children, simple battery, obstruction and fleeing to elude.