2017-10-11 / Front Page

Landfill employees arrested for theft

By Diana Royal

Ralph Hankerson Ralph Hankerson Three Burke County employees have been terminated and face felony charges after stealing thousands of dollars in recyclable metal and copper wire.

On Thursday, Oct. 5, Ralph Hankerson, 61, Marvin Jones, 60, and Richard Stidons, 46, all employees of the Burke County landfill, were arrested following an investigation by the Richmond County Sheriff's Office Metal Task Force.

According to Burke County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Lewis Blanchard, the arrests stem from the theft of metals and copper wire that had been recycled by various industries, including Plant Vogtle, and far exceeded $35,000.

Others arrested include 59-year-old Robert Kirkland, and Anthony McNeil, 43, who were identified as Waste Management employees.

They are all charged with felony theft by taking.

Burke County Administrator Merv Waldrop explained that the metal theft task force reviews purchases by metal recyclers in Augusta. "They found a large amount of metal coming from one of our employees," he said. "When they looked into it further, the checks were cut to the employee and not to Burke County.

Marvin Jones Marvin Jones Further investigation lead to two other employees and two Waste Management employees as well."

The board of commissioners held its regular monthly meeting last night (Tuesday), and the agenda included a line item to fill the three job vacancies that resulted from this incident as soon as possible.

Waldrop said Judy Allen is currently in charge as she has certification to operate the landfill and transfer station. Another employee who was not involved in the theft is still there as well, and the public works department is sending additional help as needed.

Hankerson had been with the county for 28 years. Jones was employed for eight years while Stidons was a county employee for three years.

Richard Stidons Richard Stidons Chief Blanchard said the investigation continues and that BCSO will continue to work with RCSO and the District Attorney's office regarding prosecution.

Robert Kirkland Robert Kirkland

Anthony McNeil Anthony McNeil

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