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Deputies fired, arrested in theft investigation

firefighters also charged

Posted: February 22, 2016 - 10:29pm
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Atchison
Atchison

 

Two officers with the Columbia County Sheriff's Office have been arrested and fired after being accused of taking items from the scene of a crash Saturday. Two firefighters are also charged in the case. 

Sgt. Mark Smith, 38, of Au­gusta, and Deputy Wesley Harden, 32, of Harlem, responded to an accident with injuries on Interstate 20 near mile marker 195. One driver was taken to the hospital with visible injuries, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

While working the accident, Smith and Harden took property that did not belong to them, as did Columbia County Fire Rescue Lt. Christopher D. Ganther, 41, the news release said. The items taken were cellphone covers, Bluetooth headsets and cellphone chargers that were scattered about the wreck scene, according to the news release.

Ganther, of Martinez, has been suspended without pay and charged with theft by taking and giving false statements.

Smith, a 12-year employee of the sheriff’s office, and Harden, who had seven years on the force, are facing charges of theft by taking and violation of oath of office.

A fourth man, firefighter Randall K. Atchison, 38, of Evans, is charged with giving a false statement in the case. He has been arrested and suspended without pay.

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