City employee charged with embezzlement

City employee charged with embezzlement
Arrian Mercer (Photo/Alexandria Sheriff's Office)

By Cody Mello-Klein |

Arrian Mercer, a former traffic technician who worked for the city, was arrested and charged with felony embezzlement of traffic signal cable on Jan. 17, according to a news release.

After the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services uncovered suspicious activity, the City Manager’s Office directed the Alexandria Police Department and the Office of Internal Audit to investigate. Staff found that Mercer allegedly sold more than $10,000 worth of traffic signal cable to scrap dealers between January and July 2019, according to the release.

The city terminated Mercer on July 31, 2019, and police obtained a warrant for Mercer’s arrest in December 2019. Once officers were able to locate Mercer, they acted on the arrest warrant, according to the release.

The city has since put in place measures to improve security at the materials facility where Mercer obtained the wire, Jeff DuVal, deputy director of T&ES, said.

“We have put in some surveillance cameras, we’ve put in additional caging, or sort of fencing, inside the facility around this particular material, and then we’ve done some additional inventory accountability measures with signing things out and some staff training around that too,” DuVal said.

Signal cable wire inventory will now be tracked by a spool counter that, as wire is taken off the spool, counts the number of feet removed. That number will be crosschecked against the amount of inventory on hand based on a new internal process, DuVal said.

The city declined to comment on further details of the case to avoid jeopardizing the criminal prosecution.