GBI arrests 5 in CNS theft case
A months long investigation culminated Thursday and Friday with the arrests of five people, including the former Cairo fire chief and his wife, a former city of Cairo employee, in connection with the alleged theft of free or reduced priced CNS Cable TV services.
Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents have arrested Don Towne, Tiffany Erin Fowler, James Whigham, Christine Tuning and Allan Womble as a result of the on-going investigation and authorities say additional arrests could follow.
Tiffany Fowler, who is Towne’s 29-year-old wife, is a former city employee who worked in the Energy Services Department and handled CNS customer service related activities. GBI agents arrested Fowler Thursday. She has been charged with five counts of computer theft and five counts of theft by taking, all of which are felony charges, and she remains in custody at the Grady County Detention Center. The computer theft charges are for allegedly using a computer to steal services valued at approximately $7,000, according to GBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Steve Turner in Thomasville.
The 40-year-old Towne is Cairo’s former fire chief, who recently was hired for a similar post in Barrow County, Georgia. Towne, who now resides in Statham, Ga., surrendered to the GBI in Cairo this morning (Friday). He is being charged with one count of felony theft by taking.
James Whigham, Tiffany Fowler’s 68-year-old father, and Allan Womble, 29, were also arrested Thursday. Whigham is charged with two counts of felony theft by taking and Womble was charged with one count of felony theft by taking.
The Leon County Sheriff’s Office arrested Christine Tuning, 30, Thursday night in Tallahassee, Fla., where she now lives. Tuning remains in custody there. She is facing one count of felony theft by taking and one count of false statements of jurisdiction of state.
Late last year, city officials called in the GBI to investigate the alleged theft of $150,903 that was discovered missing following a forensic audit conducted by city auditor Tom Carmichael. No charges or arrests in connection with that theft have yet been made. Turner, with the GBI, says that investigation is ongoing. “That is linked, but is a different part of the investigation,” Turner says.
The Cairo Messenger will publish updates as developments occur.