By Robert Carter
North Jefferson News
ONEONTA — A Warrior man has been arrested on charges of theft during the time he was fire chief in the community of Bangor.
Michael Claude Watson, 45, was arrested by the State Fire Marshal’s office on three theft charges, according to a statement Monday by Blount County District Attorney Pamela Casey.
Watson is charged with one count of first-degree theft of property for using fire department funds to pay for mobile phone service for himself and his family, worth more than $3,000. Another count charges that Watson used department funds to buy computer equipment for his person use, valued at more than $5,000.
Watson is also charged with one count of second-degree theft of property, in which he is accused of writing a check from the department for $1,476 as a reimbursement for property that was never purchased.
Casey said that the arrest came after state fire marshal’s agents investigated use of departmental funds during Watson’s tenure as chief, which ended last year.
Watson is held at the Blount County Correctional Facility in Oneonta in lieu of $90,000 bond.
Bangor is a small community located on U.S. 31, just south of Garden City and about six miles north of Hayden in Blount County.