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Mansfield man arrested in GBI probe into Griffin city heavy equipment thefts

A Mansfield resident tied to a months-long GBI investigation into alleged thefts of Griffin city government equipment and vehicles was arrested Thursday.

Jason Eugene Abercrombie, 42, turned himself in to the Spalding County jail Thursday, the Griffin Daily News newspaper reported.

Abercrombie was wanted by the GBI on a warrant it issued alleging one count of felony theft by taking, a release stated. 

However, Abercrombie apparently already had been released by today because he was not on an online list of active inmates in the Spalding jail. 

At the conclusion of an eight-month GBI investigation, the agency determined that Abercrombie and three others committed the crime of Felony Theft by Taking regarding a 2007 International roll-off truck, a 2002 Polaris UTV, a 2005 Polaris Ranger, a 2006 Peterbilt 320 garbage truck, a Caterpillar skid steer, a 2004 Ford Super Duty truck, and a Grasshopper 322D lawnmower.

The investigation is ongoing and will be turned over to the Griffin Judicial Circuit District Attorney’s Office for prosecution, the release stated.

The GBI already has arrested Gary Phillip Francis, 62, of Griffin, on five counts of felony theft by taking, and Stevie Raymond Williams, 65, of Griffin, on two counts of felony theft by taking. 

A warrant also has been issued for Terry Eugene Lewis, 57, of Griffin, on one count of felony theft by taking.

The Griffin Police Department on Sept. 30, 2020, asked the GBI Region 2 Field Office to assist in investigating allegations of the theft of city of Griffin property by city employees after an internal audit was conducted by the city of Griffin Central Services Department revealing several large items of equipment and vehicles were missing, a GBI news release stated.

Further investigation revealed that after the retirement of then-Central Services Director Phil Francis in September 2020, city officials performed a routine audit of the department’s heavy equipment. 

The audit resulted in several pieces of large equipment being unaccounted for in departmental records. 

The results of the audit were then given to the Griffin Police Department (GPD) for further investigation. During its initial investigation, GPD quickly discovered that the matter spanned multiple jurisdictions outside of the city limits of Griffin. 

Given this information, Griffin Police Chief Mike Yates and then-City Manager Kenny Smith asked that the GBI assume the investigation, the release stated.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation may contact the Georgia Bureau of Investigation Region 2 Field Office at 706-565-7888. Tips can also be submitted by calling 1-800-597-8477, online at, or by downloading the See Something, Send Something mobile app, the release stated.