Man found dead in cell was charged with thefts

Dwayne Giles

A Hephzibah man found hanging in his cell at the Charles B. Webster Detention Center on Phinizy Road on Wednesday was in jail on charges that he stole more than $86,000 worth of items from his former employer.


Dwayne Coleman Giles, 34, of 4442 Deans Bridge Road, was charged with burglary and two counts of theft by taking, Richmond County Sheriff's Maj. Gene Johnson said.

On Nov. 21, deputies received a report that someone had broken into Augusta Industrial Coatings Inc. at 911 Haynes Drive within the past 24 hours. The complainant told deputies that the perimeter gate was open and the metal roll-up door to the warehouse was no longer closed, a Richmond County Sheriff's report said.

The complainant identified two people who he thought could be responsible because they were recently fired for failing to take a company-mandated drug test. One of them was Giles. The other man has not been arrested, according to police.

Sheriff's Lt. Tony Walden said he was present when investigators served a search warrant at Giles' home. Inside, they found items from the business.

Stolen from the warehouse were three paint spray pumps valued at $4,600 apiece, six pressure-washing units valued at $2,500 apiece, and a steam pressure-washing unit attached to a trailer with a 300-gallon water tank valued at $10,500. Also stolen were two pickup trucks, several trailers, and numerous other items including steel-toed safety boots and a 100-foot water hose, according to an itemized report of the missing items.

"I think he was trying to generate some money so he could start his own painting business," Walden said.

Giles is believed to have committed suicide within a 10- to 15-minute window while deputies handed out prescription medications, according to Georgia Bureau of Investigations Special Agent in Charge Mike Ayers, who is in charge of investigating the incident.

Ayers said the inmate hanged himself using items in his cell that were not contraband.

An autopsy has been done, but the official report is not complete.

"We don't have any official report at this time because toxicology is pending," he said. "But the indication is that it appears to be a suicidal hanging."