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Former Augusta fire inspector arrested in theft of inspection fees

Thursday, Feb. 9, 2012 10:53 AM
Last updated Friday, Feb. 10, 2012 1:29 AM
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A former Augusta fire inspector was arrested Thursday morning in connection with the theft of more than $1,000 in inspection fees, authorities said.

Lenston Melvin Harris  Special
Special
Lenston Melvin Harris

Richmond County sheriff’s Investigator Dan Ferrel said Lenston Melvin Harris was charged with theft by taking and booked into the Richmond County jail.

“Mr. Harris came in for an interview this morning and we are in the process of booking him right now,” Ferrel said Thursday morning.

The charges stem from an audit into inspection fees. Ferrel said the case will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office when the investigation is completed. Brenda Carroll, of accounting firm Baird and Co., told police that Lt. Harris is suspected of taking at least $1,360 from businesses in payment for fire inspections between January and December 2011, according to a sheriff’s report filed Monday.

Ferrel said the businesses paid Harris in cash, and he failed to turn in the money.

He said several businesses that produced receipts for the money they paid Harris have been identified. Harris resigned as lieutenant fire inspector with the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department on Feb. 3.

According to his personnel file, Harris has been employed by the Augusta government on and off since 1976. His only disciplinary problems have been a few reprimands for speeding in government vehicles.

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David Parker
7923
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David Parker 02/09/12 - 12:13 pm
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30 plus years of on and off

30 plus years of on and off employment by the government? Charged with theft of 1300.00? If he's not innocent, I hope it was because he fell on hard times and not that he's been engaged in this for the entire time and finally got sloppy.

happychimer
16505
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happychimer 02/09/12 - 01:20 pm
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Falling on hard times is

Falling on hard times is never an excuse to steal. I too hope he has not been engaged in this the entire time.

TK3
562
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TK3 02/09/12 - 01:21 pm
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I bet you would be surprised

I bet you would be surprised at how cheaply some government officials/officers would sell out for.
Never give cash to a government official or worker, even if receipt offered.

showboat
330
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showboat 02/09/12 - 01:28 pm
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Life is gone to hell now
Unpublished

Life is gone to hell now over$1600.00 dollars, what the hell was he was thinking??????????

Craig Spinks
817
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Craig Spinks 02/09/12 - 01:29 pm
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Arrested and booked?

Arrested and booked? Excellent.

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 02/09/12 - 02:38 pm
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"Never give cash to a

"Never give cash to a government official or worker"

HAH, never do. they tend to just take it from me before it's received.

specsta
6261
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specsta 02/09/12 - 02:49 pm
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Mr. Harris may have fallen on

Mr. Harris may have fallen on hard times.

With over 30 years of service to the city, and no other infractions except reprimands for speeding, let's hope that this situation doesn't ruin his life. If the allegations are true, let him repay what was taken, do some community service and move on. To incarcerate this man would be a waste and a shame.

Right on
176
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Right on 02/09/12 - 03:48 pm
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Now hopefully we will move on

Now hopefully we will move on to the wife beaters!!!

allhans
23471
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allhans 02/09/12 - 05:50 pm
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I don't know his age but he

I don't know his age but he is not a young man, he should have learned by now - if he ever will.

scoopdedoop64
2354
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scoopdedoop64 02/09/12 - 10:54 pm
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You know stealing is never

You know stealing is never right but I wonder what any of us would do in order to feed our family

howcanweknow
2306
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howcanweknow 02/09/12 - 11:23 pm
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OK, so is Harris acting white

OK, so is Harris acting white or black?

David Parker
7923
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David Parker 02/09/12 - 11:32 pm
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I'd take your cornbread scoop

I'd take your cornbread scoop

TK3
562
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TK3 02/10/12 - 12:03 am
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I think the Inspector was

I think the Inspector was paid more than enough to keep him fed and he was old enough to know not to steal ! Question is how long has this been going on?

rmajor
8
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rmajor 02/10/12 - 02:19 am
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You know, I have worked with

You know, I have worked with Loss Prevention with several companies, and most of the time, they say that a person, who probably never has stolen, may steal because of an easy opportunity. Sometimes, the thrill of getting away with something (although stupid), or just appearing to be in the right place at the right time will prompt a person to do something they've never done before. It sounds crazy, but I've seen people with no history of stealing, pretty decent and honest, lose their jobs because of ill judgement in a situation. They may do it one time and see that it was easy, and the daring side of human nature tempts them to keep doing it because they really see it as something to get away with. In watching interviews with some of these folks...you just don't understand why they do it.

cozzster
50
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cozzster 02/11/12 - 02:39 am
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Lol, looks more like street
Unpublished

Lol, looks more like street thug than fire inspector. Can't believe anyone ever hired him for that job.

what is wrong
1
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what is wrong 02/11/12 - 07:59 am
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Not sure what's going on with

Not sure what's going on with him, and stealing is wrong. As for them being paid well, wrong answer. He works in that great place called Augusta Richmond County. Firefighters barely make enough to support one person, not to mention a family. Most of them have second jobs to supplement their income. Augusta is to busy spending money on needless things, then paying for needed service.

vickidu52
15
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vickidu52 02/11/12 - 06:30 pm
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This is sad to see these

This is sad to see these postings. We have known this man for many years and he's a kind soul and seeing this photo is so sad since you never saw him when you didn't hear his happy laugh with his wonderful spirit. I've never head a foul word out of his mouth. He's one of those people, to know him, you just love him. Now that's my take from knowing him for the past 30 years and this just breaks my heart to see this happen. If these charges are true, there has to be a desperate reason for this on his part. I'm not condoning theft in any way but I do know that this man has a heart of gold, is no thug, and my prayers are with him on this.

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