Report: While still in office, former Wheeler Co. Sheriff stole from private property

TREUTLEN COUNTY, Ga. -- A former Middle Georgia Sheriff was arrested for theft while in court on Friday.

According to a Wheeler County incident report, Johnson stole pine straw from private property on Beulah Church Road in December, while he was still the sheriff. The land owners noticed that the straw was missing and called authorities.

The incident report states that one of the workers on the property where the pine straw was located told his employer, Randy Horne, that he saw a man loading bales of the straw into his truck. The worker saw the man get away with 12 bales of pine straw then pull into another location and unload it.

The next day, the same worker reportedly called Horne and said that he saw the man again at the location where he had seen him drop the pine straw off. He said that he was loading them back up into his truck.

The report states that Horne was nearby the location so he responded. Upon his arrival, the report says that Horne spotted the vehicle that his employee described and approached it, finding it to be loaded with pine straw. Inside the vehicle, Horne told authorities that he found Johnson.

Horne told authorities that the land that Johnson allegedly stole the straw from belonged to another man who Horne had a verbal contract with to harvest the straw.

On Friday, Chief Deputy Richie Floyd of the Wheeler County Sheriff's Office said a Magistrate judge agreed that there was enough evidence to charge Johnson with misdemeanor theft by taking.

Floyd said Johnson was released from jail on Friday on a $2,500 bond.

Johnson served as sheriff of Wheeler County before losing the Democratic nomination for the position in May to Tyrone Gillis. Randy Rigdon is now sheriff after beating Gillis in November.

Although he was not re-elected, Johnson did not end his term as sheriff until Rigdon took office on January 1st.

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