Chief magistrate binds over ex-worker's burglary case

By Kathy Jefcoats

Two Locust Grove public works employees were just following orders from their supervisor when they stripped a vacant house of cedar beams, a wood-burning stove, doors and lighting fixtures, a detective testified Friday.

"The worker I talked to said he'd been instructed by Kenneth McIntyre to go to the residence to remove a wood-burning stove and take it to McIntyre's residence to be left for him," said Locust Grove police Detective Al Bearden.

McIntyre, 41, was fired from his position April 19 after 24 years with the city of Locust Grove. He was arrested April 25 and charged with burglary. Henry Chief Magistrate Judy Hayes ordered that charge bound over for grand jury presentment following Friday's hearing.

McIntyre's subordinates, Todd Weber and Joey Foley, were allowed to resign their positions but are not expected to be charged. Bearden said the men told police that McIntyre took them to the home at 165 Forest Drive and told them it was about to be torn down.

"McIntyre showed the men the home and commented on how nice the items were inside it," said Bearden. "The guys said they'd get the stuff for him and he said no, that they'd get into trouble. But he went on to say, ?If you do it, you're on your own.'"

Police found nine cedar beams valued at $1,500 hidden behind stacks of wood and hay inside a barn at McIntyre's home, Bearden testified. McIntyre also reportedly led officers to a local roadside where he dumped the stove and a Spalding County roadside where doors were abandoned.

"He said he got rid of the stove because he got scared when he learned we were investigating," Bearden said.

The stove was gone from the location but the doors were recovered.

Under cross-examination by defense attorney Gary Bowman, Bearden was asked about a builder who reportedly gave McIntyre permission to take wood from other vacant homes. Bowman seemed to be creating the defense that McIntyre had the right to take items from the empty home.

However, Bearden said the owner of the Forest Drive home told officers she did not give anyone permission to take anything from the house.

"Eddie Walker bought property at the end of Forest Drive and he told Mr. McIntyre that he could get the wood from homes to be torn down to build rabbit boxes," said Bearden. "But the home at 165 Forest Drive was not intended to be torn down."

In ruling to bind over the case to Henry Superior Court, Hayes said McIntyre could remain out on his $1,500 bond.

Accompanied by Bowman, McIntyre tried to appeal his firing but Locust Grove City Council voted unanimously April 26 to not hear the appeal. Bowman said after Friday's hearing that he plans to wait until the criminal case is resolved before deciding whether or not to pursue action with the city.