Phenix City workers fired, charged with stealing materials

By Lindsey Connell - bio | email

PHENIX CITY, AL (WTVM) -  Three utilities workers in Phenix City have been arrested and terminated after police say they stole building materials and sold them for money.

In a press release sent out from the Phenix City Police Department, it states that detectives started investigating a complaint of theft involving several city workers. During the investigation, officials say it was discovered that employees were signing out copper pipe and other building materials from the city warehouse and selling it as scrap to local metal recycling centers.

Also, scrap metal and other items that were left over from job sites and that should have been recycled by the City of Phenix City were being taken by the employees and sold as scrap to local metal recycling centers, according to police.

"They were going in and stealing copper pipe and brass valves and fittings and taking them to sell at the scrap yard. They were taking whole rolls of copper tubing and breaking them up into 12, 15 inch pieces and selling them as scrap-brand new rolls of copper," said Assistant Phenix City Police Chief Bobby Casteel in an interview Tuesday.

William Ander Hartsfield, 66, Daniel Ray Lowman, 45, and Henry Harper, 50, were arrested and charged with Theft of Property in the 1st Degree (at least $2,500 or more in property each).

They were also fired from the Phenix City Utilities Department. One other employee was also terminated but authorities are not releasing their name.

In addition, it is alleged that utilities workers from the City of Phenix City were using copper and other building materials to complete repairs for homeowners without the knowledge or consent of the City of Phenix City.

The homeowners were charged for the repairs and the payments were kept by the workers.

Casteel says the thefts went on for at least six months.

"There was a great amount of property that was being taken out and gotten rid of. That hurts everyone, all of the departments in the city," he added.

If anyone has any information about this matter they are asked to contact the Phenix City Police's Criminal Investigation Division.

These cases are still under investigation.

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