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Gate City public works foreman accused of using city money to buy then sell copper pipe to scrap yard

CLIFFORD JEFFERY • Feb 14, 2007 at 10:48 AM

GATE CITY - A Gate City Public Works Department foreman was arrested Wednesday and charged with embezzlement of city funds.

Randall Eugene Hurt, 46, of 142 Anderson St., Gate City, was arrested on four warrants for allegedly purchasing copper tubing at a local hardware store with purchase orders, then selling the pipe at a scrap yard.

Hurt, an employee with the city since 1983, allegedly began using purchase orders to buy copper as far back as July 2005.

An audit of public works books recently found a discrepancy.

Between July 14, 2005, and Jan. 30, 2007, Hurt allegedly embezzled $140,462.89 from the city by making 138 different purchases of copper pipe.

The Virginia State Police requested warrants for Hurt's arrest. Four charges were authorized by a magistrate. At 1:30 p.m., a $7,500 bond was set and was posted by Hurt.

Four charges were required because one embezzlement charge spans up to six months. The thefts occurred over more than an 18-month time span, said Scott County Commonwealth's Attorney Marcus McClung.

A court date for Hurt has not been set. McClung said Virginia State Police gathered statements, as well as physical evidence in accounting books and purchasing orders that support the charges.

"We did terminate the public works foreman," said Gate City Mayor Mark Jenkins.

Two other full-time public works employees were terminated. One man resigned, and another was fired.

"The employee who resigned had nothing to do with the embezzlement," Jenkins said.

A part-time position was eliminated and the employee fired as well, Jenkins said.

The names of those terminated was not released.

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