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Smash and grab thieves target trail walkers
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Glass is left in the parking lot of the Newton County Health Department after two thefts were reported in the area. - photo by Darryl Welch

COVINGTON, Ga. – Covington police are looking for whoever is targeting people while they exercise after two more smash and grab thefts Friday morning.

According to a Covington Police Department incident report, both victims said they were walking on the trail behind the Newton County Health Department around 9 a.m. Feb. 1 when the crimes occurred.

One victim told police she went for a walk on the trail and when she returned, she noticed that someone had smashed the back passenger window of her 2017 Porsche and taken her house keys, bank cards and a pair of sunglasses.

According to the report, at 9:30 a.m. the woman received a call advising that someone was at Kroger attempting to use one of her cards to make a $1,500 gift card purchase. Police responded to the area but were unable to locate any offenders.

Surveillance video from the store reportedly showed a black male wearing black pants, a grey winter jacket and gloves enter Kroger and attempt to but a gift card and then leave in an unknown vehicle.  The woman was also advised of a second $1,700 transaction from a different location.

The owner of a 2015 Infiniti told police that somebody smashed her car window while she was walking on the trail at the same time. The thieves reportedly got away with a Margot purse, $500 cash, keys and a wallet containing cards and identification.

On Jan. 19, thieves smashed a woman’s car window while she was parked at the YMCA on Newton Drive and made off with her purse containing ID, bank cards and a pair of prescription eyeglasses. Three women were seen using the stolen cards at the Kroger and Hibbett Sports in Newton Plaza and the Ross around the corner on Elm Street shortly after that theft.

CPD spokesman Officer Justin Stott said Tuesday the department has not confirmed if the male from Friday’s video is associated with the women from the YMCA incident, though they are known to sometimes work with males.

Stott said those three women have been identified and warrants have been issued for their arrests. He said the trio are also suspects in crimes in Gwinnett County and Athens-Clarke County.