A Marietta man accused of repeatedly punching a woman in the face last month in order to steal her cell phone was caught by Marietta Police Wednesday morning with the help of the department’s new license plate reading device.
Landis Coulter, 26, allegedly punched the woman 10 times and stomped her head into the ground before grabbing a 6-inch butcher knife and holding it against her at an apartment in the Laurel Hills Preserve complex on Bells Ferry Road, south of Skip Wells Park and Laura Lake Road.
Coulter, who according to jail records also resides in the apartment complex, is also alleged to have said “You know I can kill you, right?” to the woman before fleeing the scene with her cell phone, an iPhone 7. The warrant was issued three days later.
Officers were unable to locate Coulter until Wednesday morning, when the Marietta police department’s license plate reader, which is in a fixed location, alerted officers to a plate connected to Coulter. Authorities soon thereafter found Coulter and arrested him, according to Officer Chuck McPhilamy, spokesperson for Marietta Police.
“This is the first arrest since (the license plate reader’s) installation a few months ago,” McPhilamy said. He said the department would not reveal the location of the new device, which was donated and installed at no cost by a company beta testing the plate reader in an effort to get businesses and other entities to purchase their technology.
“We’re not monitoring (the camera) – it’s pushing a message to officers if someone passes the license plate reader that has some alert associated with the license plate that would necessitate police intervention,” McPhilamy said, adding that the software allowing the department to receive the license plate data was also provided at no cost.
Under a law signed this spring by Gov. Nathan Deal, law enforcement cannot retain license plate data obtained from automated license plate recognition systems for longer than two and a half years.
Coulter, who faces felony charges of robbery and aggravated assault, remained in custody at the Cobb County Adult Detention Facility Wednesday afternoon without bond, according to jail records.
McPhilamy said additional plate readers are expected to be installed in the city in the coming months through a partnership with businesses interested in purchasing the devices.
“Meetings with business owners and apartment complex managers are being held to discuss additional fixed LPR locations around the city,” McPhilamy added. “Strategically implementing technology will enable us to continue to reduce crime within our city. We appreciate the businesses that are partnering with us and look forward to continued success with this program.”