A former North Carolina police chief was arrested Thursday for allegedly faking his own death in an attempt to dodge prosecution on more than 80 felony charges.
Ex-Chadbourn Chief Anthony Spivey, 36, skipped a court hearing on Monday and staged his own suicide — but was nabbed just after midnight Thursday hiding out at his aunt’s apartment in Loris, SC, WECT-TV reported.
Spivey had been top cop in the small town of Chadbourn until April, when he was slapped with dozens of charges and accused of regularly raiding the police department’s evidence locker, destroying evidence, trafficking opium and selling seized weapons to friends and family, the News & Observer said.
North Carolina’s State Bureau of Investigation launched its probe into the Chadbourn department because of the lack of confiscated drugs being sent to the state crime lab for analysis, the newspaper reported.
Spivey later faced charges for allegedly embezzling $8,000 in money raised to help a local family who lost a child to cancer, according to WECT. Although the disgraced chief got out of jail on a bond, he was arrested again for stealing from an auto shop that hired him after he was axed from the Chadbourn force, the news station said.
Prosecutors tried to keep the slippery Spivey behind bars, but he remained free on the bond – then ditched a recent court case claiming he was sick with COVID, WECT reported.
Facing another court date on Monday, he staged his death by parking a truck near a boat launch on the Lumber River where he left a letter saying goodbye to his family, WWAY-TV said.
Family members described the incident as a possible suicide and Columbus County, NC police found Spivey’s boat at the river with a .22-caliber rifle onboard, a news release said. A discharged round was still in the chamber, cops said.
Dive crews searched for three days but investigators never believed Spivey killed himself, Columbus County police said in a press release.
“As investigators collected video from surveillance systems and conducted interviews, it became even more apparent that the scene on the river was staged,” the release stated.
A warrant was issued for Spivey’s arrest on Wednesday and police caught up with him at the apartment complex at 12:45 a.m., according to Columbus cops.
He ran from the complex but was caught in the woods nearby, Horry County, SC police said in a social media post.
Spivey has 40 outstanding warrants for failing to appear in court, for a total bond of $1 million, police said. Additional charges are likely.