Cordele Dispatch, Cordele, GA

Local news

August 12, 2009

Home Depot employees arrested

CORDELE — Three workers at two local businesses have been charged with stealing from their employers.

Cordele Police Department Sgt. Dean Brown identified two of the suspects as Home Depot employees Robert Andrew Middlebrooks, 22, of 1506-E 16th Avenue, and Heleeda Ellis, 33, for whom no address was listed.

The officer said loss prevention officers for Home Depot told him that over a period of time Middlebrooks had on eight occasions given a man named but not yet charged an item to take through his check-out counter.

There, Middlebrooks would allegedly charge a lesser price for the item that the customer would later return and be given a Home Depot gift card for its full value. The customer would then give the gift card to Middlebrooks who, in turn, would spend it on himself.

Middlebrooks, who has reportedly admitted to the ruse, has been charged with misdemeanor theft by taking (under $300).

Sgt. Brown said Ellis is accused of creating on Aug, 8 a Home Depot gift card in the name of an apparent fictitious person in the amount of $684.85.

Ellis allegedly used the gift card on three occasions, the last of which she also used her own credit card to complete the transaction. She has been charged with felony theft by deception in an amount over $500.

An investigation is continuing and additional charges may be forthcoming.

The third person charged with employee theft is Lashaunna Barner, 28, of 607 Short St., Vienna.

The manager of Denny’s told Ptl. Clinton Latham he had no idea of how long Barner had been stealing from the restaurant but that he had three documented incidents.

For the last two thefts, he produced receipts that showed she would charge customers full price for their meals, would add a discount into the system for the transaction and would pocket the difference. The total amount taken in the last two documented incidents was $24.19.

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