Airport official arrested for theft - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Airport official arrested for theft

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Kevin Harper (Source: Dougherty Co. Jail) Kevin Harper (Source: Dougherty Co. Jail)

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Deputy Director of the Airport in Albany is arrested stealing hundreds of dollars worth of shirts from the Albany Mall store where he worked part time.

37-year-old Kevin Harper was caught red handed by Dougherty County Sheriff's Investigators last night putting stolen shirts into his car trunk behind the Albany Mall.

Now the city has a much larger investigation going on now at the Airport.

As the Deputy Director at the AIrport, Kevin Harper oversaw the police and security forces there, and also had an opportunity to do financial business. So City Officials are now checking out all his activities at the airport, to see if any thefts have occured there.

Dillard's at the Albany Mall told Dougherty County Sheriff's Investigators one week ago that close to 300 Polo shirts were missing. About 9:30 Thursday night Investigators surprised Harper, one of the store's loss prevention security officers, stealing more of those shirts.

Dougherty County Sheriff's Captain Craig Dodd said "He was caught with the merchandise in his hand, preparing to put it in the trunk of his vehicle."

Harper worked for five years at Dillard's part time, where he oversaw the surveillance cameras and security devices. Investigators say Harper figured out how to turn the cameras away from the shirts, and open the door without detection.

"He would prop a chair under there so it would keep the buzzer on and keep the door unlocked. He would then run out to his car, put the stuff in, run back in, take the chair out, manipulate the cameras back to where they were supposed to be covering," Dodd said.

Harper had 25 polos in a bag worth almost two thousand dollars. Caught red handed, he confessed.

"He stated that he was selling them on the street for $35 to $40 each," Dodd said.

Harper has been suspended by the city with pay following his arrest, and started an investigation at the airport.

"I have found no evidence this morning that anything has happened negatively at the Airport, but we are doing our due diligence. And I have asked Miss Aehle and the security chief out there to go through the office and make sure everything looks OK," Assistant City Manager Wes Smith said.

Harper has worked for the City of Albany for almost seven years, and has been Deputy Director at the Airport for two. City officials say Harper was having financial problems, and speculate that may have been why he started stealing from the store.

Harper was booked at the Dougherty County Jail Thursday night and released on two thousand dollars bond.

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