Scam nets arrests

Published 3:00 am Saturday, July 30, 2011

Two Brewton residents were arrested Thursday following an investigation into theft of property at a local retail outlet.
Natasha Hodges, a clerk at Brewton’s Dirt Cheap, was charged with theft of property in connection with items involved in a scam to steal property from the store where she was employed.
Also arrested in the case was Lonnie Bush who worked with Hodges in the scheme that may have involved more than $2,500 in stolen merchandise.
Lt. Steven Ferguson with the Brewton Police Department said the arrests came after officials with Dirt Cheap’s headquarters offices in Mississippi turned over information they had obtained during an initial investigation at the Brewton store.
“An audit at the store turned up some discrepancies and officials from Mississippi began their own investigation,” Ferguson said. “They turned over the investigation to our department and we continued to look into the situation.”
Ferguson said the scheme to take merchandise from the store unraveld during the investigation.
“It was determined that Bush would enter the store and fill buggies with merchandise,” Ferguson said. “He would then go to the register Hodges was assigned to for checkout. He would only go to Hodges for that purpose.”
Ferguson said Bush would sometimes fill as many as three or four buggies with merchandise he planned to take from the store.
“Hodges would charge Bush with a minimal amount in an effort to allow him to take the merchandise,” Ferguson said. “She would charge him just three or four dollars but never more than $20 for the merchandise he would get.”
Ferguson said videos and paperwork involved in the investigation supported the charges filed against the two individuals.
Brewton Police Chief Monte McGougin said additional arrests may be made in connection with this case.
“We believe these are not the only people involved in this activity,” McGougin said. “We will continue our investigation into the case and other arrests are expected to be made.”
No bond information was available for Hodges or Bush as of press time.

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