GBI Arrests Former City of Griffin Employees for Theft by Taking
JUNE 21, 2021
Griffin, GA (June 21, 2021) – The GBI has arrested Gary Phillip Francis, 62, of Griffin, GA on five counts of felony theft by taking, and Stevie Raymond Williams, 65, of Griffin, GA on two counts of felony theft by taking. Warrants have been issued for Terry Eugene Lewis, 57, of Griffin, GA on one count of felony theft by taking, and Jason Eugene Abercrombie, 42, of Mansfield, GA on one count of felony theft by taking.
On September 30, 2020, the GBI Region 2 Field Office was requested by the Griffin Police Department to assist in investigating allegations of the theft of City of Griffin property by city employees after an internal audit was conducted by the City of Griffin Central Services Department revealing several large items of equipment and vehicles were missing.
Further investigation revealed that after the retirement of then Central Services Director Phil Francis in September 2020, City officials performed a routine audit of the department’s heavy equipment. This audit resulted in several pieces of large equipment being unaccounted for in departmental records. The results of the audit were then given to the Griffin Police Department (GPD) for further investigation. During its initial investigation, GPD quickly uncovered that this matter spanned multiple jurisdictions outside of the City Limits of Griffin. Given this information, Griffin Police Chief Mike Yates and then City Manager, Kenny Smith, requested that the GBI assume the investigation.
At the conclusion of an 8-month GBI investigation, it was determined that Lewis, Abercrombie, Francis, and Williams committed felony theft by taking in reference to a 2007 International roll-off truck, a 2002 Polaris UTV, a 2005 Polaris Ranger, a 2006 Peterbilt 320 garbage truck, a Caterpillar skid steer, a 2004 Ford Super Duty truck, and a Grasshopper 322D lawnmower.
This investigation is ongoing and will be turned over to the Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution. Anyone with information regarding this investigation may contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 2 Field Office at (706) 565-7888. Tips can also be submitted by calling 1-800-597-TIPS(8477), online at https://gbi.georgia.gov/submit-tips-online, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app.