COWETA COUNTY - A deputy’s security check at a golf course led to the arrest two suspected burglars accused of leaving a dog inside a hot car during their attempted robbery.
According to the deputy, he observed a gray pit-bull inside a white GMC van that was not running just east of the locked entrance of Orchard Hills Golf Course.
“The dog was clearly very hot and panting. I then rode down the cart path and turned around to go toward the clubhouse to see if I could find the owners of vehicle,” the deputy wrote in an incident report.
When the deputy proceeded to look for the dog’s owner, he saw the silhouette of a person inside the clubhouse at the cashier’s/club shop area.
The deputy then spotted a white male crouching behind the tall grass in the back of the clubhouse. Once the suspect spotted him, he ran toward the basement and then came back out when the officer told him to. He was later identified as Michael Smith, the registered owner of the white van.
Other deputies arrived on scene and they began to search the building. They found a white female hiding behind a dryer and washer set. She was later identified as Debbie Smith and detained as well.
When the deputy told Smith of her Miranda Rights, she stated she was “just looking around”. Smith then stated that there was a “machine” there and somebody told them to come get it. When asked if she had permission to be on the location she replied, “No I guess I don’t”.
Deputies then went to the van and located a large piece of a John Deere lift laying in the back-cargo area. The lift is valued at $7500.
Animal control arrived on scene and took possession of the dog.
Michael and Debbie Smith were taken to Coweta County Jail where they were both charged with burglary second degree, theft by taking, criminal trespass and animal cruelty.