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Couple suspected in operation of illegal business

Photo by Hugh Osteen

Photo by Hugh Osteen

By Jason A. Smith and Mehgaan Jones

jsmith@henryherald.com

Authorities in Henry and Clayton counties, suspect a Stockbridge couple of operating a chop shop from within their auto repair business, in Clayton.

In addition to theft charges, the husband and wife face several drug charges in Henry, and pending charges in Clayton County.

Details regarding the Clayton County charges were unavailable, Friday evening.

Michael Dale Donaldson, 39, and his wife, Cindy Brock Donaldson, 42, appeared Friday in Henry County Magistrate Court.

Cindy Donaldson, represented by the Henry County Public Defender's Office, waived a preliminary hearing in her case, which was bound over to Henry County Superior Court. She was released from the Henry County Jail Friday, on $45,000 bond.

A hearing for Michael Donaldson was reset for March 11, to enable him to hire an attorney, court records state. He was released from the Henry Jail Friday, on $60,970 bond, according to Magistrate Court records.

The couple was arrested Thursday, as a result of a joint investigation between the Henry County Police Department, and the Clayton County Police department. Henry Police Sgt. Mike Ireland said his agency's Criminal Apprehension Gang Enforcement Unit (CAGE), developed information regarding a business serving as a possible chop shop in Clayton County.

Clayton County Police Public Information Officer, Sgt. Otis Willis, added that a third person was detained, but information regarding the individual's name, or whether the person was arrested, was unavailable, Friday.

"The owners of the business, Michael Donaldson and Cindy Donaldson, reside in Stockbridge," Ireland said. "This information was passed on to Clayton County and, in a coordinated effort between the two agencies, search warrants were served simultaneously at both locations [the home and business]."

According to Willis, a warrant was originally pursued by the Clayton County Police Criminal Investigations Division.

The warrants were issued to search the Complete Truck and Engine Repair shop, located at 5251 Railroad Street, in Ellenwood, according to police.

"Due to several compromising issues, the Clayton County Police S.W.A.T. team were called in to issue the search warrants," Willis said. "We found three stolen vehicles, and stolen parts from other vehicles," said the Clayton County Police spokesman.

Sgt. Ireland said Henry County officers recovered stolen items from the couple's home, including an all-terrain vehicle, firearms and construction equipment.

"Illegal narcotics -- methamphetamine, marijuana and illegal pills -- were also located at the residence," the Henry Police sergeant continued. "Both Michael and Cindy Donaldson were arrested and charged without incident."

The Donaldsons are charged, in Henry, with five counts each of theft by receiving, as well as possession of methamphetamine, possession of fentanyl, and possession of less than one ounce of marijuana, police said.

Cindy Donaldson is also charged with possession of oxycodone and alprazolam, and possession of a weapon during the commission of a felony.

Michael Donaldson faces an additional charge of possession of Xanax.