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Porterdale Police make arrest in gas theft, vandalism at golf course
Stevene Camp

PORTERDALE, Ga. – Officers with the Porterdale Police Department (PPD) arrested a Covington man early Tuesday morning in connection vandalism and the theft of gasoline at a local golf course.

According to a PPD incident report, Officers Matt Munger and Timothy Hawkins were conducting a property check at the Oaks Golf Course located at 11240 Brown Bridge Road shortly before 4:30 a.m. Aug. 8 when they observed what appeared to be headlights come on and shut off around the maintenance shed/gas pump area. They were checking the golf course due to recent thefts and trespassing on the property.

According to the report, after entering the property and moving toward the area where they had seen the lights, they noticed a full size, black truck quickly driving down the cart path in their direction without any headlights. Hawkins activated their emergency equipment and they conducted an investigative stop on the truck.

The truck reportedly pulled head on with the patrol car and came to a stop within 15 feet. According to the report, the driver, identified 20-year-old Stevene Camp, had a “confused/dazed” look on his face and was looking around as if he was contemplating fleeing.

According to the report, due to the position of the vehicles and the possibility of a crime in progress, both officers exited their vehicle with weapons drawn in a “low-ready” position, with Munger loudly giving verbal commands for Camp to put the truck in park and place his hands out the window.

After Camp complied, officers holstered their weapons and approached the truck. According to the report, he was removed from the vehicle and detained for investigative purposes and read his Miranda Rights. There was reportedly a strong odor of gasoline coming from Camp and from inside the vehicle.

According to the report, after questioning from Munger, Camp stated that he comes to the golf course sometimes to “ride the hills.” He also admitted to disabling a lock on the gas pump and filling his truck. Camp reportedly told officers he also drove around the driving range “two or three weeks ago.”  According to the report, on July 28, an estimated $2,800 in damage was done to the driving range by a vehicle. Camp reportedly said his truck was sliding because it was wet outside and there isn’t much weight in the rear end. He also reportedly stated that he threw some golf balls around the course because he had nothing else to do.

According to the report, Camp was arrested and transported to the Newton County Jail charged with criminal trespass, loitering and prowling and theft by taking for the Aug. 8 incident. He was also charged with criminal trespass and criminal damage to property for the July 28 incident.

According to the report, Dick Schulz who owns the Oaks with his wife, District 3 Newton County Commissioner Nancy Schulz, told police that Camp had been employed there from March 22 until May 15 of this year.

The Schulzs thanked the police in a statement saying, "We want to thank the Porterdale Police for their perseverance and swift action. Their professionalism is exemplary. We are so grateful to live in Newton County and operate a business in Porterdale. We know public safety is crucial for a community to thrive. Public safety employees within the county and the City of Porterdale have our utmost respect. Keep up the good work!”