Chief of police resigns

The Harlem Department of Public Safety director resigned Friday after authorities say he was caught shoplifting from the Evans Wal-Mart.

 

Employees watched Jerry Baldwin, 47, of Trippe Street, try to leave the store at 4 p.m. Thursday with less than $13 worth of items concealed in his pockets, Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said.

"I'm not going to say I didn't do anything wrong," said Mr. Baldwin, who was hired as police chief in November 2001. "I shouldn't have done what I did."

Mr. Baldwin had gum, tarter sauce, Crystal Light and jelly in his pockets, but he paid for other items in his shopping cart. When he left the store at 4469 Washington Road, loss prevention employees stopped him and escorted him to the store office, Capt. Morris said.

Mr. Baldwin handed over the stolen items. Capt. Morris said Mr. Baldwin told the loss prevention officer, "I did have the money. It was just a stupid thing I did."

Wal-Mart declined to press charges, and Mr. Baldwin agreed not to return to the store.

"The law is the law," Mr. Baldwin said. "And I've got to suffer the consequences like everybody else."

Assistant Chief Chuck Meadows will serve as interim director, said Harlem City Manager Jean Dove. Officials will soon begin the application process to hire another director, she said.

Reach Valerie Rowell at 868-1222, ext. 110, or valerie.rowell@augustachronicle.com.