Thousands of taxpayer dollars was spent on tools and other items for state trustees to complete hobby projects at the Anderson County Detention Center, according to an internal affairs report.
Captain Garry Bryant was fired in May by Sheriff Chad McBride and an internal and SLED investigation was launched into inmate labor. The SLED investigation has since closed and no charges will be filed.
The internal investigation revealed thousands of taxpayer dollars being spent on tools from Hobby Lobby, Northern Tool, and Lowes. Receipts from March 2016 to May of 2017 showed that 537 items had been charged to the Home Depot Credit Card. Those items included tools, tool sets, and miscellaneous items like multiple job site radios. Those 537 items totaled $63,623.26. Totals from Northern Tool reached $2757.98.
Some of those tools were used by state trustees, who are non-violent criminals, to use for hobby jobs, according to the report. They would build chairs, tables, and wooden clocks. The report goes on to state that often the trustees would accompany deputies into the various stores and add to lists what they needed for their projects.
During the internal investigation, investigators started an inventory of all tools and products in the Detention Center’s possession. While doing the inventory, investigators found an unload gun, magazine, and ammunition in a tool box in a supply closet. The gun belonged to the Sheriff’s Office.
The investigation also revealed that the trustees would meet family members in parking lots, with deputies, to give their projects away. There was no evidence that they ever profited off of the projects.
To evade any needs for procurement policies, they would make sure not to make purchases over $2,500 at one time, according to the report.
The Sheriff’s Office stated that changes would be made as to more oversight into the purchases being made through the Detention Center.
CLARIFICATION: We have updated the original story. The original STORY did not make it clear that inmates did not receive ownership of any tools purchased with taxpayer funds. It also did not make it clear that an unloaded gun was found in a supply closet.