By WAYNE FORD
A Hambersham County man is charged with stealing nearly $1 million in products from a warehouse distribution center in Jackson County, authorities said Friday.
The Georgia Bureau of Investigation charged Russell Scott Tittle, 42, of Clarkesville, with four counts of cargo theft, a new law passed last year to combat the growing crime of thefts at distribution centers, rail yards and sea ports, according to John Cannon, GBI agent in charge of a special Major Theft Unit based in Conyers.
Tittle, who was employed by a company moving products at the distribution center, remained in the Jackson County Jail on Friday without bond.
The GBI began its investigation in late January, soon after Reckitt Benckiser, a 40-000-square-foot distribution center in Jefferson, reported to Jefferson police that two trailers full of products were missing, according to Jefferson Police Investigator Sgt. James McNatt. Among the items missing in large quantities congestion medicine, police said.
“We’re still investigating and I think there will be other parties who will be arrested,” said McNatt, who said the case was turned over to the GBI.
The investigation led to the recovery of between $750,000 to $800,000 of the $974,000 worth of stolen products, which included over-the-counter medications and food, Cannon said.
Investigators were able to find leads in the case in nearby counties, including Franklin and Madison counties, authorities said.
“We’re one of the main states in the country for cargo theft and that’s why (the state) passed the law,” Cannon said, adding the theft rate is a combination of factors including the interstate highway system that supports trucking, the number of distribution centers and sea ports.
“We have the perfect mix for cargo thieves,” Cannon said.
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