UPDATED with additional information.
A county maintenance worker has been charged with 14 counts each of larceny by employee and obtaining property by false pretense after he allegedly used a county gas card to buy fuel.
Messiah Maurice Brown, 20, of 108 Townhouse Dr., Whiteville, was arrested Dec. 9 on warrants drawn by Det. D. Graham of the sheriff’s office.
Warrants show Brown used a county fleet fuel card to purchase fuel for personal vehicles on at least 14 occasions. In several cases, the warrants show Brown used the same fleet card on multiple sequential days, even purchasing fuel twice on Oct. 18.
The alleged incidents occurred between Oct. 6 and Nov. 7.
The sheriff’s office reported that the county purchasing department noticed “questionable purchases” on a county credit card, and contacted investigators.
Detectives found that a County of Columbus Maintenance Department gas card was unaccounted for, and the particular card was used to make multiple unauthorized gas purchases. All the charges were for premium fuel, according to the warrant, yet no county vehicles require premium gas. Transactions also took place during weekends and times when the county Maintenance Department was closed. Some of the purchases were made in Myrtle Beach.
Investigators obtained surveillance footage from the gas stations, and identified Brown on video using the stolen gas card.
Brown confessed to using the gas card, and was fired Dec. 8. He was arrested Dec. 9, and placed under a $14,000 secured bond.