Statesboro police arrested Waynesboro Mayor Gregory Antonio Carswell Monday after he turned himself in on identity theft and felony theft charges.
Carswell was reportedly employed by Check Into Cash in Statesboro while simultaneously serving as mayor, said Statesboro Police Sgt. Patrick Harrelson.
While managers at the Zetterower Avenue check cashing and title pawn business would not comment Tuesday, Harrelson said Carswell was fired from the business in February in connection to at least two cases of theft and fraud.
“We have identified two victims,” he said, adding that the case is still under investigation and there may be several other victims. In addition to identity theft and fraud, Carswell is charged with stealing “a felony amount of money” from the business as well.
Carswell claims it is all a mistake. Unreachable for comment Tuesday, he had previously claimed his attorney, Grady Blanchard of Evans Ga., advised him not to comment.
In a post Monday on his mayoral Facebook page, Carswell wrote: “Today I went and voluntarily turned myself in on a warrant that was issued for me. At this point we are not sure of all the particulars but I’m not guilty and we will fight this. The charges insinuate that the alleged victim(s) identity has been comprised and my identity has been as well. We plan to work with authorities to address these issues and make sure that the persons responsible will be arrested and convicted. My attorney has instructed me to limit the scope of my conversation as this is an ongoing investigation and other questions can be addressed by him.” Blanchard did not return calls seeking comment Tuesday.
According to a biography listed at www.waynesboroga.com., Carswell first ran for office in 2011 but was not elected. However, in 2017 he was elected as the youngest mayor and the first black male mayor in the town’s history. He attended Georgia Southern University, New Life Theological Seminary and Deliverance School of Ministry, according to the website.
Past work history listed a stint as assistant manager at a Krispy Kreme, pastor and “award winning” photographer and gospel artist, but did not list employment with Check Into Cash. Harrelson said he believed Carswell had worked for the business “for a while.” Carswell has a wife, six daughters and a son, and has been “preaching the gospel since 2007,” the biography said.
After contacting Statesboro police Monday, Carswell was booked into the Bulloch County Jail on charges of two counts of felony theft by taking and two counts of identity fraud. He posted bond the same day.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at (912) 489-9414.