Three men were arrested Thursday after a reported burglary at a BP gas station on Turner Lake Road.
A report from the Covington Police Department identified them as Merlin Smothers, 28, Larry Jones, 37, and Giacobi Kelly, 37.
Police were dispatched to the gas station just after 3:30 a.m. after an alarm went off at the station, reports said. Officers forced entry into the building and deployed a K9, which tracked a scent from the rear of the business and down to Old Brown Bridge Road.
During the investigation, the report said, an officer noticed a suspicious vehicle coming from Old Brown Bridge Road. It was occupied by Smothers, Jones, Kelly and several other unidentified subjects. An officer reportedly initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle, and after a short pursuit, the vehicle stopped and all of its occupants fled on foot. Deputies from the Newton County Sheriff’s Office were called to assist CPD officers in locating the suspects.
Smothers, Jones and Kelly were apprehended in the immediate area of the final stop location, the report said.
Police reportedly found that the thieve gained entry by busting a hole in the rear cinderblock wall, into the restroom area. The report said an orange safe was sitting on an orange dolly behind the business. Ceiling tiles in the restroom were removed, and alarm wires in the suspended ceiling were cut. The CPU tower containing the video surveillance hard drive was missing, the report said, and there were drag marks from behind the counter to the entry/exit hole, which reportedly indicated that the orange safe had been under the counter.
The store manager reportedly told officers that the safe belonged to the store, but was empty. The manager also said three brown paper bags containing a total of $3,000 to $4,000 were missing.
Smothers, Jones and Kelly were charged with burglary, obstruction, and possession of tools for the commission of a crime.
Former Dirty Dogs employee charged in burglary
A Covington man who reportedly was fired from Dirty Dogs Café was arrested after a burglary at the business. A report from the Covington Police Department said an officer was dispatched to the business on Reynolds Street Dec. 29 after an alarm went off.
The officer checked the front of the building and used a flashlight to illuminate the interior, but did not notice anything out of place. However, according to reports, when the officer checked the back door, he immediately noticed an open door that had been damaged beyond repair, and other officers were dispatched to the scene.
According to the report, upon arrival, the owners asked if police could see the cash drawer, which had been placed in a certain area for the next workday’s shift.
The officer looked in that particular area and noticed that the cash drawer wasn’t there. The owners also noticed there was an iPad missing, along with an iPod Touch that was also in the cash drawer.
The owners told officers that Demetre West, 21, had been fired due to monetary discrepancies on Dec. 27, the report said. The owners told police that the next day, West came to the business demanding his last paycheck, which was about $150.
According to the report, the owners told police that they refused to pay West, and that he did not take kindly to their response.
The owners also said that West knew where they stored the cash drawer, and subsequent investigations led to West's arrest.