Crimestoppers employee charged with theft of reward money

A Macon Regional Crimestoppers employee was arrested and charged Friday afternoon with misappropriating nearly $1,800 in reward money that was set aside for tipsters to area crimes.

The Bibb County Sheriff’s Office arrested Helen Jones, 40, of Macon, with four counts of fiduciary theft, according to a sheriff’s office news release.

Jones allegedly had an accomplice that she used to pick up the reward money, the release said. The accomplice, identified by Jones, has not been charged. The release said that person would be charged “once sufficient evidence is gathered” to determine any involvement in the thefts.

The crimes hit law enforcement’s radar after Crimestoppers Chairman Warren Selby Jr. alerted investigators in Bibb and Houston counties about “inconsistencies with invoices and paperwork filed by Helen Jones,” according to the release. The investigation has found several fraudulent invoices totaling less than $1,800 that Jones allegedly processed.

Officials said Jones was responsible for handling the paperwork that dealt with reward money that Crimestoppers gives to people who call in crime tips in the midstate.

She was able to “influence the system through false invoices to allocate reward funds so that her associate was able to receive the funds,” the release said.

“As we celebrate 15 years of assisting law enforcement in the apprehension of thousands of criminals in Central Georgia, I am pleased that our program has checks and balances in place that quickly discovered these fraudulent activities by a newly hired assistant,” Selby said in the release. “Our program continues to do great things for our community and our Board of Directors takes seriously the responsibilities placed upon us by the community and especially our donors.”

The case remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Bibb County Sheriff’s Office at 478-751-7500 and ask to leave a message with the on-call investigator who handles property crimes.