Two arrested after night of car break-ins

by Wes Mayer

Two people suspected of breaking into and stealing items out of parked vehicles in Newnan Saturday night were arrested shortly after the victims and numerous eyewitnesses reported the thefts to 911.

Around 9:15 p.m., Officer Roxanne Benefield with the Newnan Police Department responded to the O’Charley’s restaurant on Bullsboro Drive in reference to items stolen from one of the employee’s vehicles. According to Benefield, she met with the victim at the restaurant, and he told her a customer came holding the victim’s wallet and keys and said they were found lying in the parking lot. The victim then went out to his vehicle and found it had been rummaged in, but the only item he determined was missing was the debit card from his wallet. The victim also said he left his vehicle unlocked.

While Benefield was meeting with the first victim, 911 began receiving multiple calls about suspects entering autos in the parking lot around the Corner Tavern on Newnan Crossing Bypass. According to Benefield, callers were able to describe the suspects and their vehicle, a silver Ford Focus.

Shortly after, Newnan officers Brandon Johnson, Ed Dalton and Parker Smith arrived in the area, and Johnson saw a silver Ford Focus matching the description stop in front of the H.H. Gregg store in Newnan Crossing West shopping center. Johnson stopped the vehicle and identified the two people inside as Tracey Lynn Washington, 38, and Johnny Wade Harper II, 32. The vehicle’s license plate also returned as a stolen vehicle out of Coweta County.

Officers Dalton and Smith met with the other three victims, and they were all able to describe what was missing from their vehicles – all of these items were located inside Washington’s and Harper’s Ford Focus, according to Benefield. Washington and Harper were both charged with four counts of entering automobiles to commit theft and one count of theft by receiving stolen property, and they were transported to the Coweta County Jail.

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