Stolen property was recovered, including a religious painting, after two suspected burglars collided with a police car while attempting to run, authorities said.
Investigators said they were able to track down Winston Joseph Nobles, 31, and Carlos Joel Easterwood, 40, after they allegedly left behind a cell phone following a heist on Witcher Road last week.
According to Investigator Troy Foles with the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office, the duo are responsible for a string of entering auto burglaries in Fayetteville, Columbus, McDonough and Montgomery, Ala.
Investigators said the case began just after Labor Day when the duo allegedly stole a white Nissan Armada from a woman’s garage in Montgomery as she was preparing to attend a picnic.
On Sept. 12, a family on Witcher Road was riding ATVs on their property when they noticed the home of a deceased relative had lights on inside and the back door was open, according to Chief Deputy James Yarbrough.
One of the items missing from the home on Witcher Road was a religious painting that quoted John 8:14 – “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Once deputies secured the house, they discovered a cell phone that did not belong to family members, and it was turned over to Investigator Troy Foles.
After calling several contacts in the phone, it was confirmed the owner was staying in the Coweta area, Foles said.
On Thursday evening, the stolen Nissan Armada was found at the Super 8 motel near Exit 41. After attempting to pull the car over, the driver gave chase and deputies attempted to disable the car using a PIT maneuver.
The car was able to recover from both attempts and then accelerated, crashing head-on into an undercover patrol car, injuring the two investigators inside the vehicle.
After colliding with the undercover car, the Armada then rolled on its side where authorities were able to take Nobles and Easterwood into custody without incident. The investigators injured in the crash were taken to Piedmont Newnan to be evaluated and were later released with minor injuries.
Inside the stolen car, investigators found a variety of stolen items including objects from the recent Witcher Road burglary. While the interior of the car was a disarray of stolen property, the religious painting stolen from the Witcher Road residence remained unscathed in the backseat of the car, Foles said.
More stolen property was allegedly found in the motel room.
Nobles, of Montgomery, Ala., is charged with a number of charges, including narcotics possession, aggressive driving, aggravated assault with other weapon, and fleeing from police.
Easterwood, of Panama City, Fla., is charged with narcotics possession and dangerous drugs to be kept in original container. Both men also face charges of burglary and theft by receiving.
Investigators are currently working with other agents to inventory and return the stolen property to the rightful owners. The investigation clears at least five cases of burglary, auto theft, drugs and credit card fraud across two states, Foles said.
The two men are currently being held at the Coweta County Jail without bond.
Clay Neely: firstname.lastname@example.org, @clayneely