College Park employee charged with stealing utility bill payment

by: Amy Napier Viteri Updated:

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COLLEGE PARK, Ga. - A College Park woman said she suspected for months someone at the city's customer service department had made an error with a payment she made in January.

This week, police arrested an employee at the department on charges of stealing hundreds of dollars from that customer's payment.

"Betrayed. Mad. I was furious,” Crissy Garnett told Channel 2's Amy Napier Viteri.

College Park police charged 25-year-old Deandre Denson with theft. She was responsible for accepting utility bill payments for the city.

In January, Garnett's husband paid $636.81 in cash toward their utility bill.

Garnett said Denson signed a printout of their bill to give them instead of a receipt. She claimed she couldn't print a receipt because of an ongoing system upgrade.

Garnett said just a couple weeks later, she received another bill for more than $400.
 
After trying to explain she had already paid it, the city turned off her lights.

"I feel like I was ripped off. Betrayed. Lied to. But they're looking at me like I'm the liar,” Garnett said.

The shutoff forced her to pay the bill again, along with nearly $300 in late penalties and reconnection fees.

According to police, Denson was the one who pocketed $350 of Garnett's payment, and she applied only what was left to the family's bill.

Police Chief Ron Fears told Viteri the city doesn't tolerate theft.

"That person has been arrested. We hope that sends a message loud and clear to others that may contemplate theft,” Fears said.

Fears said Denson told investigators she took the money because her rent was due.

No one answered the door at the address listed for Denson.

"They better check and see if it's happened to them too. Because if it happened to me, I'm pretty sure it happened to someone else,” Garnett warned.
 
Police said anyone who suspects theft should contact the customer service department, and officers will investigate.



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