NWGA Scanner | July 11th, 2022
According to a Floyd County Police Department incident report, On June 22nd, 2022, Officer Matthews was called to 5 Kelli Drive in reference to a report of theft of water service. The officer met with an employee at Floyd County Water Department. He stated that while checking the meter of 5 Kelli Drive, he found that the water meter had been bypassed with a piece of garden hose. He stated that this is at least the third time the Melissa Anne Benton, 46, of Rome, has stolen water service. A witness who lives across the street from the Benton stated that she saw her on Sunday, June 19th, at the water meter tampering with it with tools. Officer Matthews reported, “[I] did observe that the water meter which had been shut off by Floyd County Water Department for nonpayment had ben bypassed with a piece of white garden hose to make the illegal connection” The officer could not get Benton to the door and obtained a warrant for charge theft of services.
On June 22nd, at 11:20 AM, Investigator Wanka and Inv. Lopez met with Georgia Power Investigators regarding the address of 5 Kelli Drive. Investigator made contact with Melissa Benton, who now had an active warrant for felony theft of services through the county. Benton was subsequently placed under arrest for the warrant. According to the report, “She gave Georgia Power consent to go inside the house and check on the power. Georgia Power advised that the utilities were in Melissa Benton’s name, her account had been inactive since October 15th, 2018, and on June 3rd, 2022, the meter was removed. From 2018 until now, Benton had been through deception and, with the intent to avoid payment, had been knowingly obtaining electrical services through Georgia Power which was only available through compensation. Benton’s stolen usage of power and what was owed to Georgia Power totaled $9,474.64. Georgia Power went into the attic and cut the cable/wire that was used to bypass the meter and steal power. Benton was booked into the Floyd County Jail, and charged with felony theft of services. According to Floyd County Jail records, Benton has a lengthy criminal record involving theft charges. In March 2022, she was arrested for felony theft by taking after she reportedly stole a mobile home.