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Alleged car thief charged with robbery, assault

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

A $20,000 bond was set for a Stockbridge man suspected of pushing a woman out of her moving vehicle. Police have determined that robbery was the motive for the crime, according to Henry County Police Maj. Jason Bolton.

Mark Alan Bender, 24, is charged with robbery and aggravated assault. He appeared in Henry County Magistrate Court Friday, represented by the Public Defender's Office, and waived his right to a preliminary hearing on the charges.

Judge Robert Godwin bound Bender's case over to Henry County Superior Court. He remained in the Henry County Jail Friday, according to jail records.

The case originated with a carjacking around 4:30 p.m., Thursday, at the Laundromat at 21 Ga. Highway 138, Bolton said.

"The female victim had been loading items in her car when a black male jumped in the driver's seat and drove off with the victim in the passenger seat," said the major. "He pushed her out of the moving vehicle, and was followed by a witness."

Police initially referred to the investigation as a carjacking case. "Had he used a weapon to commit the robbery, he would have been charged with hijacking a motor vehicle," Bolton explained.

An arrest warrant for Bender, issued Friday in Magistrate Court, states that he caused "visible bodily harm" to the victim, Janice Pines, by forcing her out of her BMW 318i vehicle.

A police helicopter and numerous patrol cars were part of the pursuit for Bender, as they swarmed a portion of Interstate 75 in Henry County Thursday evening.

The major added that the witness called 911, and made police aware of Bender's location. "Eventually, the suspect crashed on I-75, at exit 228," said Bolton. "After a two-hour search, the suspect was located by Clayton County police at the Winstead apartments in Clayton County."

Bender had several cuts on his body, when he was apprehended, and requested to be taken to a hospital, according to Bolton.

"He was placed under arrest at the hospital (Henry Medical Center) by Henry County police," he added. "The victim's injuries fortunately were not severe."

Public Defender Gary Bowman could not be reached for comment.