The Attorney General has charged Robert Warner, of Potowomut, with two counts of computer trespass in connection with actions he took while working as the communications officer for the East Greenwich Fire Department in June.
Warner was to be notified by mail of the charges. He will be arraigned in Kent County Superior Court Nov. 30.
The East Greenwich Police conducted the investigation. Initially, after a state police investigation, the Attorney General had declined to bring forward charges, citing a lack of evidence. Based on additional information and evidence gathered by the EGPD, the Attorney General’s office brought the two counts of computer trespass.
Both are felonies. Warner could get up to five years in prison or a fine of up to $5,000 or both.
Warner has been a member of the EGFD for 16 years. He was fired in July for insubordination
. Warner resigned as fire alarm and IT point person for the fire department on June 14, a position he had held for the past 12 years, after a disagreement with the chief and deputy chief. The town accused Warner of erasing computer files, saying he had put the town at risk.
Attorney General spokeswoman Amy Kempe said this type of investigation is often conducted without the suspect’s knowledge, rather than proceeding from an initial arrest. Warner learned of the charges Friday, Nov. 16, shortly before the information was released to the press.
On Sunday, Nov. 11, Town Council President Sue Cienki said Warner was going to be charged. It’s unclear how Cienki would have known about it before Warner.