Houston & Peach

Houston County employee accused of stealing, selling government computer equipment

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A Houston County computer network technician is accused of stealing and reselling county-owned computer equipment, a sheriff’s investigator said.

Victor Mark Massey, 32, of Kathleen, was arrested at work Monday on two counts of theft by conversion and one count of theft by taking, all misdemeanors, said Houston County sheriff’s Lt. Kent Bankston.

Massey was free on a $3,900 bond, according to Houston County jail records. He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Felony charges are expected, Bankston said. Whether charges are misdemeanors or felonies depends on how much is determined to have been stolen, Bankston said. A $1,500 value is the threshold for a felony charge.

According to arrest warrants, Massey listed a Dell OptiPlex 5040 computer valued at less than $1,500 on eBay between Aug. 12 and Aug. 24 of this year.

Also, between June 17 and Aug. 24 of this year, Massey took five Dell computer monitors and sold them on eBay instead of installing them in county government officers and took a Polycon Soundstation IP 3000 Poe conference speaker phone, arrest warrants said.

The computer monitors were valued at under $1,500, while the speaker phone was valued at $375, according to warrants.

As of Tuesday, investigators have determined that “several thousand dollars” worth of equipment has been stolen and resold during the time that Massey has worked for the county, according to Bankston.

“I don’t know that we have an exact amount yet,” Bankston said. “We’re still working on all of that.”

Sheriff’s officials received word of the alleged thefts late Friday afternoon, he said.

The thefts were discovered after another county employee found some of the computer equipment on a website for sale and recognized that it was county property, Bankston said.

In 2018, Massey was earning $34,756.80 a year, The Telegraph reported.

Massey was officially suspended Monday pending his termination in three days, but he is not expected to appeal, said Barry Holland, the county’s director of administration. Massey’s termination will likely be made effective as of Monday, Holland said.

Holland said the sheriff’s department was notified when the alleged thefts were detected. He declined to name a total amount but characterized it as “substantial.”

Massey started working for the county in December 2018, Holland said.

The investigation is in its initial stages, Bankston said.

Anyone with any information related to the alleged thefts is asked to contact Houston County sheriff’s Sgt. Eric Salter at 478-542-2085.

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Becky Purser covers breaking and Houston County news. She previously covered crime and courts for Houston and Peach counties for The Telegraph. A graduate of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville with a bachelor’s degree in communications/news-editorial sequence, Becky also has covered city and county government for Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia newspapers.
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