Former police chief pleads guilty to 14 felonies for stolen drugs, money and guns
COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT/Gray News) - Former Chadbourn Police Chief William Anthony Spivey was sentenced after pleading guilty to 14 felonies and one misdemeanor, District Attorney Jon David’s office announced Monday.
He was sentenced to 138-267 months, or 11.5 years to more than 22 years, in prison, as well as the permanent loss of his badge, the DA said.
The former chief was charged in April of 2021 for stealing thousands of dollars in cash, guns from the evidence locker and pills over multiple years after prosecutors “became increasingly concerned about missing evidence at the Chadbourn Police Department.”
The DA’s office said Spivey couldn’t produce evidence for review in several narcotics cases in February of that year, the announcement stated.
David requested a State Bureau of Investigation probe into Spivey for potential violations of obstruction of justice and willful failure to discharge a duty of office, which led to a search of the department, including Spivey’s office and the evidence room.
The prosecutor’s office said several items of evidence from various cases were discovered missing, including money, narcotics and several firearms.
“Certain bags labeled as evidence with written descriptions of the items contained therein were found to be torn open with some or all of the items described missing,” the announcement said.
The majority of the missing evidence was from cases “when Spivey had exclusive care, custody and control of the Chadbourn Police Department evidence room,” the DA’s office said.
Some of the opened evidence bags with missing evidence items were found in Spivey’s office, along with copies or original case files and property sheets. The chief took the evidence items of evidence and sold the firearms “to friends, family members, and acquaintances,” the release said.
While Spivey was out on bond in 2022, he didn’t make it to his court appearance and left a suicide note, the DA’s office said, prompting a search.
Detectives from the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office later found out that Spivey was at a friend’s property in Loris, South Carolina. At that property, he was taken into custody by law enforcement.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Jason Minnicozzi finalized the plea agreement ahead of what the DA said would have been a lengthy trial beginning later this year.
“Spivey has been held accountable for his actions, and we hope that this will bring confidence back to our community, including our law enforcement partners, who work diligently as they serve our community with integrity. Mr. Spivey’s actions are not a reflection upon law enforcement. Spivey’s conduct is reflective of an outlier who took advantage of his position of trust and power,” Minnicozzi said in the announcement.
David accused Spivey of “an ongoing pattern of criminal conduct” and said the lengthy sentence is merited.
“At some point in his career, Mr. Spivey made the decision to stop serving his community and instead start serving his own selfish interests. In my view, the punishment handed down today, which includes a significant prison sentence and the permanent loss of his badge, reflects the depth of Mr. Spivey’s breach of duty and speaks justice,” the district attorney said.
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