Superintendent Colonel Nathaniel McQueen Jr.
Bridgeville – The Delaware State Police have arrested a tire thief after he abandoned his car at the dealership and was found walking along the road.
Troopers responded to The Car Store, located at 9335 Beach Highway, around 4:56 a.m. Sunday September 10, 2017 after a suspicious subject wearing dark clothing and a ski mask was reported to the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center (9-1-1) in the parking lot. Upon the troopers arrival, the suspect was no where to be found, but a tan in color Chevrolet Tahoe with District of Columbia registration was located in the parking lot with two sets of truck tires resting on the ground next to it. A search of the area revealed two pick up trucks had all of their tires removed and were sitting on bricks, causing damage to the brake rotors. A third pickup truck was located on the lot with the lug nuts removed but the tire had not yet been removed.
Surveillance video was reviewed with the business owner which captured the suspect fleeing in a westerly direction as the initial trooper arrived on scene. A computer check of the registration revealed the owner of the Tahoe to be a Ernest S. Covington, 49 of Washington, DC. Troopers began searching the area for the fleeing subject and were able to make contact with a witness around 7:00 a.m. who saw a person near the intersection of Seashore Highway and Scotts Store Road wearing dark colored clothing. At approximately 8:00 a.m. a trooper located a subject walking in a westerly direction on Seashore Highway, just west of Farmer Genes Market (4213 Seashore Highway) with a bag of chips and sodas in his hands. A traffic stop was conducted on the adult male, and upon questioning his identity, he gave a false name. A pat-down search was conducted on the man, who was found to be in possession of traffic camera citation that contained a photo of the Tahoe and registration as well as a key for the same vehicle that was located at The Car Store.
While Covington was positively identified and being transported back to Troop 5, a burglary was being reported from Farmer Genes Market. The investigation revealed a subject had forced entry into the building by forcibly removing an A/C unit and once inside, the suspect removed change from a tip jar as well as an undisclosed amount of cash from the register, which was later located outside the same window with damage to the till. Also stolen was a bag of chips, soda, and some slim jims, all which was located on Covington upon his arrest.
Ernest Covington was charged with Burglary 3rd, Theft over $1500, Theft under $1500, Attempted Theft under $1500, two counts of Criminal Mischief, Criminal Impersonation, Possession of Burglary Tools, Hindering Prosecution, and Criminal Trespass 3rd. He was arraigned at JP3 and committed to Sussex Correctional Institution on $15,100.00 cash bond.
The investigations into the thefts of automobile tires in the Kent and Sussex county areas are continuing by detectives and more charges may be forthcoming for Covington.
Presented by Public Information Officer, Master Corporal Gary Fournier
Released: 091117 1520