Atlanta woman arrested after committing fraud and leaving the scene of crash Saturday in Dalton
According to a Dalton Police Department incident report on Saturday, January 18th, 2020, Dalton Officer Morang was contacted via phone by a Chattanooga man in reference to someone using his Lowe's business account to purchase a John Deere zero-turn lawnmower prized at $2999.00 at the Dalton Lowe's, 1212 North Glenwood Avenue. A Lowe's employee said the person who made the purchase stated that they were coming that day between 4:00 and 5:00 PM to pick up the lawnmower. Officer Morang talked with the employee to get further information about the incident. The employee stated that the subject was able to provide the necessary information to place the order, including the phone number and name associated with the account. After discussing further detailed information with the employee, he was advised to call E911 if anyone showed up and tried to pick up the order. The victim also explained to the officer that someone made a fraudulent purchase on his account at the same Lowe's on December 23rd of last year for $5945.33. The victim stated that the account showed the purchase as being made over the phone for 220 pieces of timberline roofing shingles. At approximately 7:20 PM, the victim, called dispatch and advised that the suspect, later identified as Rochelle Renee Hogan, 40, of Atlanta, had arrived at Lowe's to try to steal the lawnmower. When store employees asked for a photo ID from Rochelle, she fled the store. Dispatch was advised that Rochelle was driving a U-Haul and had left the scene. Officer Bethune was traveling on East Walnut Avenue and turned onto South Thornton Avenue. Officer Bethune immediately observed a U-Haul truck make an erratic lane change coming close to striking several vehicles. As the U-Haul passed, Officer Bethune confirmed that the truck had two occupants matching the description given by dispatch. Officer Bethune quickly turned around to conduct a traffic stop on the U-Haul and noticed it was following extremely close to the vehicle in front of it. Officer Bethune conducted a traffic stop on Miller Street. Due to the nature of the call and the occupants frantically moving inside, Officer Bethune conducted a felony traffic stop. Officer Rittenhouse arrived on scene and assisted helped with removing the occupants from the vehicle. Several more officers arrived on scene and assisted with detaining both occpants. Officers questioned Rochelle, who advised that she picks up deliveries for people and had a friend ask her to pick up a lawnmower that was purchased. She advised a friend from Atlanta paid her $200 to pickup the lawnmower. Officer Bethune advised Rochelle the reason for the traffic stop and asked why she was driving erratic. Rochelle stated that she was scared because "Some guy" was taking pictures of her while she was getting gas at the Kroger. The "guy" was the victim who told officers he was waiting on them and followed them to the gas station at Kroger and began taking pictures of the U-Haul, Rochelle, and the passenger (Dekalb County woman), and the license plate. The victim stated he told Rochelle, "Y'all are going to jail now!". Officers on scene were notified by dispatch of a hit and run crash that had occurred at Hamilton Street and Tyler Street involving the U-Haul. A Caller who witnessed the crash stated the U-Haul struck the building and left the scene. Officer Hefner observed damage to the front, top, passengers side of the cargo box and hole approximately the size of a softball with a piece of wood sticking out. Officer Hefner responded to the crash scene and conducted a crash investigation. According to the crash report, the witness observed the U-Haul traveling at a high rate of speed, nearly crashing into her vehicle. While avoiding the near collsion, the U-Haul struck the awning/eave at 501 North Hamilton Street and left the scene at a very high rate of speed. Rochelle was transported to the Whitfield County Jail charged with financial transaction card fraud (felony), failure to fulfill duty upon striking a fixed object, driving without insurance, failure to maintain lane, following too closely and reckless driving. Rochelle was released from jail on an own recognizance bond. OR bond means no bail money is paid to the court, and no bond is posted. The Atlanta woman was released on the OR bond where the person promises, in writing, to appear in court for all upcoming proceedings. The passenger was released from the scene by police due to not knowing about the incident.