COVINGTON, Ga. – The Newton County Sheriff’s Office (NCSO) has made an arrest in a string of armed robberies at Dollar General Stores that occurred around the county during July and early August.
According to a press release from spokesman Investigator Jeff Alexander, NCSO investigated six armed robberies of area businesses, including three Dollar General Store locations between July 12 and Aug. 3.
Alexander said in July the Sheriff’s Office formed a Task Force comprised of the Criminal Investigations Division, Crime Suppression Unit, Traffic Patrol Unit and Special Investigation Unit to identify and interdict the perpetrators of these violent crimes. Extra patrols were set up, leads were developed and information on similar armed robberies in neighboring Rockdale and Henry Counties was shared.
According to the release, on Thursday, Aug 3, at 9:21 p.m., the Task Force was on duty when two men entered the Dollar General at 12861 Hwy. 142 N., in Oxford, with the intent to commit an armed robbery. Witnesses reported that two suspects, wearing black jackets and masks, entered the store and one suspect displayed a handgun. They told the 911 operator the suspects fled the scene in a silver car with one taillight out, southbound on Highway 142 from Highway 81, heading in the direction of Alcovy Road.
According to the release, a few minutes later, a Covington Police Department (CPD) unit spotted a vehicle matching the description and initiated a traffic stop with NCSO Task Force units. Tolek Raphelle Johnson, 19, and a 16-year-old juvenile, both from Lithonia, were taken into custody. A search warrant was obtained for the vehicle and a gun, masks and clothing was discovered that tied into other armed robberies.
Alexander said that Johnson was additionally charged with the armed robbery of the Dollar General at 5505 Hwy. 81 July 25 and the armed robbery of the Dollar General at 5321 Hwy. 20 July 24. He said the investigation is continuing and all NCSO case information will be shared with other agencies.
Sheriff Ezell Brown wants the citizens of Newton County to rest assured.
In a statement, he said, “As long as there are threats like this affecting the well-being and safety of those we serve, we will continue to work diligently to build solid cases against criminals who engage in such senseless violent acts.”