March 29, 2005
"Basically you have $25,000 worth of merchandise and property stolen from the county of Albemarle and the tax payers of Albemarle county," said Lt. John Teixeira, of the Albemarle Police Department.
Police arrested Wendilynn Garrison, Calvin Edward Wilkerson, III, Robin Shana Wallace, and Franklin William Morris.
Garrison worked with the county finance department. She is accused of embezzling over $2,000 of public funds.
"We were at first shocked, quite frankly. Because Ms. Garrison was a long-time county employee. She had been a county employee for ten years. A very good county employee," said Richard Wiggans, the Director of Finance for Albemarle.
The others were all linked to county schools. Wilkerson is accused of stealing over $5,000 from children's lunch money accounts from Murray Elementary, where he was a cafeteria manager.
Authorities said Wallace, an office associate at Murray High School, racked up over $12,000 in false mileage reports and snatched a fax machine.
Morris, a maintenance worker with the county schools building services, allegedly stole over $5,000 in electronics equipment kept at the facility.
Police said all four cases are unrelated. The arrests stem from investigations months in the making and simply took place within the same timeframe.
"I've been with the county for 20 years and it's the first time I can remember that sequence happening and all these things coming together," said Lt. Teixeira.
Authorities said they're glad the system worked, but not so glad there was a recent rash of county theft.
"It's a little disheartening, in that you would have these allegations," said Lt. Teixeira.
All four defendants are now out on bond. They're each charged with felony embezzlement. Wallace also faces a grand larceny charge. Each has been fired except for Morris, who is on leave without pay.