Four Atlanta employees charged with stealing city property

Four City of Atlanta employees, including a janitor at police headquarters, were arrested Thursday and charged with stealing municipal property.

The quartet pilfered "anything basically metal that could be recycled," said Atlanta Police Sgt. Tommie Collins, acting commander of the Central Investigations Section. Among the items stolen -- filing cabinets worth $600. The loss to the city was valued in the thousands of dollars, Collins said.

The thefts took place over a period of at least one-and-a-half years from City Hall East, on Ponce de Leon Avenue, and other city properties. Some occurred on the clock, Collins said, using city-owned vehicles.

APD janitor Thomas Simmons, 45, Randall Swinger, 45, and Willie Montford, 54, had been employed by the city for at least 15 years. They were arrested, along with 29-year-old Eddie Chambliss, while working at either City Hall or police headquarters.

"They teamed up to gain access and shared the profits in this endeavor," Collins said.

Police began investigating the thefts last month after a tip from a "valid source," said Collins, adding more arrests are possible.