Grovetown Officer on paid leave after police-issued gun stolen


A Grovetown officer, Justin Durden, is now on administrative leave after someone broke into his car and stole his service weapon, while he was at the motel six on Boy Scout Rd. in Augusta.

Since the incident happened in Augusta, there are now two investigations: An internal investigation with Grovetown Police Department and an Open Investigation with Richmond County Sheriff’s Department.

An acquaintance of Durden, Jennifer Bramblett, says, “he’s a good man. He’s a nice man. He’s an honest man, and I didn’t expect to see anything from him.”

It’s an unexpected situation in an unexpected place.

Chief of Grovetown Police, Scott Wheatley, says, “well, I can’t go into a lot of detail because there is a criminal and an internal investigation going on.”

There are few details from authorities, but the incident report says a suspect broke into Durden’s 2007 Mercedes Benz and stole his police issued gun at a Motel 6 in Richmond County.

The report says there’s footage of Durden leaving in his car and returning to the motel while sitting on broken glass.

However, Durden told police he didn’t notice.

“Of course it’s suspicious. There’s no way he didn’t know he was sitting on broken glass,” says Bramblett. “Anybody who’s ever loved a car, cleaned the inside of the fender wells is not going to sit in a driver seat full of glass and not freak out.”

Who Durden was with is unclear. The report says “an unknown female named ‘Bambi.'” However, the description has been redacted from the report.

The redacted information is what Bramblett believes is a reason for Durden to cover something up.

“Because he shouldn’t have been where he was and he didn’t want the whole world knowing what he was doing,” says Bramblett.

Durden is on paid administrative leave until the internal investigation is over for final decision.

“I’m disappointed. I’m heart broken. I’m sorry. I’m sad. I hate that it has happened. I know that that means we are about to lose a great cop,” says Bramblett.

This isn’t the first time Deputy Durden has had contact with the law.

According to online records, Durden plead NOLO and paid a fine for a reduced charge of disorderly conduct back in 2012. The details of that arrest were expunged in 2017.

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