Columbus police investigate shocking embezzlement case

A Columbus city councilman is listed as the beneficiary of an alleged embezzlement scheme.

Posted: Oct 2, 2018 4:52 PM
Updated: Oct 3, 2018 11:05 AM

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) - A Columbus city councilman is listed as the beneficiary of an alleged embezzlement scheme.

Sharon Smith, a worker at Bargain Hunt, is accused of not charging a select group of people for their store items.


Sharon Renae Smith | Photo: Columbus PD

The store estimated the goods to be worth approximately $3,219.45. However, the amount could be higher.

A store loss prevention official said this involved the same customers coming through multiple times.

According to the police report, those customers included Ward 5 Councilman Stephen Jones and his wife Stephanie Jones.

Stephen Jones had been verified to have left the store on four occasions with unpaid items, according to the police report. His wife reportedly left the store on two occasions with unpaid items.

Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton says store workers had been watching Smith since June and his department was notified last week.

He says Smith is currently the only person charged in the case. According to Bargain Hunt's company policy, they only seek prosecution and restitution from store employees and not any customers involved.

On Wednesday, Jones released the following statement to WTVA:

"I was as surprised as anyone to hear my name involved in the situation. I wasn't contacted prior to the press release by anyone, so I am still learning what I am apparently accused of along with everyone else watching the news. I have always paid for everything I've gotten from Bargain Hunt - or any other store for that matter. I'm hoping to get the matter cleared up as soon as possible."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 34622

Reported Deaths: 1215
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds269748
DeSoto181818
Madison138236
Jones117349
Harrison104014
Rankin103515
Neshoba102274
Lauderdale94281
Forrest93943
Scott79215
Jackson72717
Washington64310
Copiah63115
Leake61320
Lee58621
Holmes57341
Oktibbeha56828
Wayne55416
Warren55320
Yazoo5436
Grenada5357
Lowndes52613
Leflore52256
Lincoln50935
Lamar5027
Pike47020
Sunflower4528
Lafayette4374
Monroe43635
Covington4195
Panola3996
Bolivar38018
Attala37524
Simpson3733
Newton35710
Adams34019
Pontotoc3266
Tate32313
Marion31312
Claiborne29310
Chickasaw29219
Winston28711
Pearl River27632
Noxubee2758
Marshall2693
Jasper2676
Clay25511
Union23811
Smith23412
Walthall2267
Coahoma2156
Clarke21425
Lawrence1992
Yalobusha1938
Kemper18014
Carroll17311
Tallahatchie1664
Humphreys15910
Montgomery1493
Calhoun1475
Tippah14411
Itawamba1418
Hancock13813
Webster12811
Tunica1193
Jefferson1173
Jefferson Davis1164
Prentiss1123
Greene10810
Amite1063
George1023
Wilkinson959
Tishomingo921
Quitman891
Alcorn852
Perry764
Choctaw754
Stone732
Franklin492
Benton420
Sharkey420
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6030162
Mobile4418137
Montgomery4339109
Tuscaloosa254448
Madison19078
Marshall186611
Shelby150924
Lee149437
Morgan12205
Baldwin111410
Walker105127
Elmore98919
Dallas9639
Franklin92216
Etowah88214
DeKalb8416
Chambers65727
Russell6570
Autauga65313
Butler64328
Tallapoosa61669
Unassigned58626
Limestone5741
Houston5526
Cullman5395
Lauderdale5376
Lowndes48022
St. Clair4692
Colbert4656
Pike4595
Escambia4528
Calhoun4365
Coffee4074
Covington39911
Jackson3742
Bullock37010
Barbour3672
Dale3621
Talladega3497
Hale33722
Marengo33011
Wilcox2968
Clarke2946
Winston2893
Chilton2872
Sumter28512
Blount2731
Pickens2556
Monroe2492
Marion24514
Randolph2449
Conecuh2277
Perry2091
Bibb2081
Macon2069
Choctaw20212
Greene1928
Henry1433
Crenshaw1273
Washington1277
Lawrence1170
Cherokee1127
Geneva920
Lamar811
Fayette781
Clay742
Coosa621
Cleburne411
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
79° wxIcon
Hi: 94° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 82°
Columbus
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 69°
Feels Like: 75°
Oxford
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 73°
Starkville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 73°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather