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Columbia mayor arrested on theft charges

Associated Press

COLUMBIA -- The mayor of a town in south central Kentucky is facing criminal charges after he was accused of giving an order to overcharge Columbia Natural Gas customers by $107,000.

Police officers arrested Columbia Mayor Curtis Hardwick on Monday afternoon after he was indicted on charges of theft and official misconduct, WKYT-TV reported.

Investigators believe the mayor instructed his employees to charge the excess natural gas fee, Columbia Police Chief Jason Cross said.

"It's unfortunate," Cross said. "Our main goal is to make sure our citizens are protected. That's their job. Whether it be protection from the bad guys or protection from waste or fraud or abuse or anything like that."

-- Associated Press

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