A former supervisor for a Georgia industrial painting contractor is being sought in connection with the theft of more than $114,000 worth of trucks, trailers and painting equipment from his former employer.
Dwayne Giles, 34, of Hephzibah, GA, is wanted on charges of burglary and theft in the heist Nov. 20 at Augusta Industrial Coatings Inc., of Augusta.
“He should be on the front page of Dumb Crook News,” Bobby Kirkland, president and CEO of the painting company, said of his former employee.
‘An Inside Job’
The theft was discovered the night of Nov. 21 by Kirkland’s son, Robert, who also works for the firm. He had stopped by the business and found the front gate and side door open. Missing were two trucks; three trailers; all of the company’s pumps and power washers; and an undetermined number of paint sprayers, hoses, sanders, ladders and other equipment, said the senior Kirkland.
The theft was clearly “an inside job,” because there was no sign of forced entry, said Kirkland, adding: “He knew what he was doing.” The company reported the theft to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Department.
A week later, on Nov. 29, Robert Kirkland happened to be visiting nearby Fort Gordon, a frequent customer of Augusta Industrial Coatings, and spotted one of the company’s missing trailers. The owner told Robert Kirkland that he had just bought the trailer from his wife’s nephew, Giles.
‘A Dumb Crook’
“He even wrote out a bill of sale and signed it,” the elder Kirkland said in amazement. “What a dumb crook. It started unraveling right then.”
A short time later, sheriff’s deputies took a search warrant to Giles’ home where they found one of the missing trucks and a few other items in the backyard. Giles was gone and has not been found. Police are also searching for an accomplice, saying one person could not have pulled off the theft alone.
“There’s got to be someone else with him,” said Richmond County Sheriff’s Investigator Alton Creech, who is leading the investigation. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (706) 821-1020.
Key to the Crime
Kirkland said Giles had worked as a painting supervisor for his company for about a year and a half before he was fired about six months ago. As a supervisor, he said, Giles was given a spare set of keys for the company facilities, Kirkland said.
The missing equipment hit Kirkland especially hard, forcing him to quickly spend a significant amount of money for replacements to keep up with his current workload, he said.
As the search for Giles and the equipment continues, Kirkland has already revamped his company’s security system and procedures. Among the new rules: “No one is allowed to loan anybody a key for one second.”
“In 37 years in business, I’ve never had anything like this happen,” said Kirkland, who owns two other businesses in addition to the contracting firm. “This was a wake-up call.”