Sheriff’s Crenshaw Visit

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sheriff’s office pays visit to Crenshaw

By Billy Davis

Three Town of Crenshaw employees were subjected to a polygraph test last week as part of an ongoing sheriff’s investigation into stolen town funds.

According to town clerk Renee Ward, she was interviewed June 25 by sheriff’s investigator Mark Whitten. Other interviews were conducted with maintenance manager Sylvester McGlothian and water bill clerk Pearl Armstead, she said.

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The interviews were conducted in a sheriff’s trailer stationed in front of Crenshaw’s town hall.

“I was read my Miranda rights then signed a waiver,” Ward said. The interview took about an hour and a half, she said.

Whitten did not return a phone call Monday from the newspaper.

Initial reports estimated that as much as $5,000 in revenue was stolen from the cash-strapped town, but further investigation by Ward and town consultant Lygunnah Bean pinned down a total loss of $3,343.

Following the theft, Bean has urged town officials to discontinue cash payments to town government.

Crenshaw town officials have said Armstead discovered the missing water bill funds when she opened town hall on the morning of Friday, May 23. A week later, town officials huddled in an illegal executive session requested by Mayor Sylvester Reed to discuss the theft.

Immediately after the meeting, Crenshaw Vice Mayor Alberta Bradley said anyone with keys to town hall should submit to a polygraph test, since the investigation did not find any signs of forced entry.

Still unknown by Monday was whether Reed would follow town employees and submit to a polygraph test. The mayor was attending the Miss. Municipal League conference in Biloxi last week while town employees were being interviewed.

Reached Monday by phone, Reed said he has not been asked by the sheriff’s department to submit to a polygraph test.

Asked if he would comply if asked, Reed said, “I don’t have any reason not to.” He then added, however, that he would wait until the situation arises to decide whether to cooperate.

“Let me just say I would wait until they do ask and then see,” he said.