WINDSOR – The news got worse earlier this week for a former employee of the Bertie County Water Department.
Vincent Earl Brown, 48 of Piney Woods Road in Lewiston, was arrested Tuesday by the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office on nine counts of larceny by an employee. All of those charges are felonies.
Brown was placed under a $2,500 secured bond and made his first court appearance on Thursday.
His ordeal began earlier this month when, during their Oct. 2 meeting, the Bertie County Board of Commissioners came out of a closed session and unanimously voted to terminate Brown from his position as a county employee.
During the closed session, the commissioners met with Bertie County Sheriff Greg Atkins and BCSO Detective Sgt. Ed Pittman.
Back in open session, the commissioners acted upon the recommendation of Lloyd Smith, who serves as the attorney for the board. That recommendation included termination of employment as well as referring the matter to law enforcement officials and judicial authorities for possible criminal prosecution.
According to Detective Sgt. Pittman, their investigation covered a nine-month period (January through September) where Brown allegedly used a gas credit card issued to the county to fuel his personal vehicle.
A county official confirmed that one gas credit card is assigned to each county-owned vehicle. Using a PIN (Personal Identification Number) code supplied by county, Bertie County employees use the cards to fuel the official government vehicles.
The amount of gas charged by Smith for use in his personal vehicle was reported at $3,035.17.
Apparently, Brown had been charging the gas for his personal use since at least January of this year. Those credit card charges were detected by the Bertie County Finance Department and brought to the attention of county officials.
It is not known if Bertie County government officials will seek civil action against Brown in order to recover the money lost in these alleged crimes.