Cop Shop Blog

Versace theft suspect ID’d when dropped cellphone leads cops to his Facebook page

A mall security man and an employee at the Belk department store on Riverside Drive in north Macon were digging through a jacket that a suspected shoplifter dropped the other day as he bolted into a parking lot. A Bibb County sheriff’s deputy noted in a report of the Feb. 2 episode that the security officer had tried to catch the culprit but that the culprit raced off. While making his escape, the apparent pilferer tossed his loot — a $111 bottle of Versace cologne — by a trash bin. He then shed his jacket, scrambled beneath some cars and got away. Or did he? It seems there was something useful to the police in his jacket: a cellphone. Before long it rang. The sheriff’s deputy answered it and, according to the incident report, told the caller “that I had found (the phone) and would like to know who the owner of the phone is. The person on the other end of the phone said it belonged to his homeboy” and named a 37-year-old Macon man. The caller said he was supposed to “get some speakers” from the phone’s owner. “The subject also requested to know where I was … and he would come get the phone for his friend. After that I identified myself as a deputy. … The subject then hung up.” The Belk employee looked up the suspect’s name on Facebook and his Facebook picture helped identify him as the culprit. A warrant for the suspect’s arrest was being sought.

Dispatches: Ever-alert Telegraph reporter Laura Corley, her ears tuned to The Telegraph’s newsroom police scanner on Feb. 4, heard dispatchers informing Bibb sheriff’s deputies of a woman “walking down the street with no clothes on whatsoever.” Earlier in the day, Corley heard another call somewhere else in town about a guy “running up and down the street trying to find some cigarettes.” . . . Equally-alert reporter Liz Fabian caught wind of another police-scanner curiosity the morning of Feb. 7 when a dispatcher informed sheriff’s deputies of a disturbance involving a woman at a Macon eatery: “Be advised, she is yelling at the customers and she threw jelly.” . . . On Jan. 27, a woman at Hidden Lakes Apartments off Mercer University Drive in Macon reported that someone had flattened all four tires on her Chevy Malibu. A sheriff’s reported noted something else odd about the car: “There was a large Snickers bar shoved inside the gas tank.”

Note to midstate law enforcement agencies: Email reports of unusual situations your officers encounter to Telegraph reporter and Cop Shop columnist Joe Kovac Jr. at

Joe Kovac Jr. covers crime and courts for The Telegraph with an eye for human-interest stories. A Warner Robins native, he joined the paper in 1991 after graduating from the University of Georgia.