The State Bureau of Investigation is looking into two separate criminal cases involving one Eastern Carolina Police Department.
Sharpsburg Police Sergeant Frank Griffin was indicted by a grand jury for obtaining property by false pretenses which is a felony. The second case involved a civilian. Investigators say Daniel Hales was riding along with a police officer, conducting searches, and handcuffing people, dressed like an officer and carrying a weapon, even though he's a convicted felon. Town administrators say they're looking for the truth.
The District Attorney's Office asked the SBI to investigate these cases, although, they did not tell us why or how long they've been investigating the police department.
WITN first reported Friday a Sharpsburg police sergeant had been arrested and charged with a felony.
We have now received a news release about the case. It follows:
Sgt. FR Griffin, employed by the Sharpsburg Police Department, was arrested and charged on 02/12/09 with one count of Obtaining Property by False Pretenses. This charge was brought forward by a joint effort of the SBI and District Attorney’s Office after a year long investigation.
The charges allege that Sgt. Griffin frauduently obtained $202.50 in gross wages (before taxes) on September 6th, 7th, and 8th of 2007.
The Town is concerned about this matter and has already completed an investigation into this issue during March of 2008. This investigation shows clearly that Sgt. Griffin possessed no intent to defraud and violated no policies or directives of the Town with regards to this matter.
The Police Chief has several issues regarding this charge:
-Sgt. Griffin completed the time sheet in question fully according to departmental procedure at the time. This time sheet was completed in a generic fashion due to Sgt. Griffin’s supervisory status and irregular work hours. This practice had been in place since his promotion on August 3, 2006. Sgt. Griffin’s time sheet did reflect the total number of hours worked, but not the actual time. The Police Chief set this practice into place and was fully aware of Sgt. Griffin’s work schedule at all times. Today, time sheets do reflect actual time worked for every officer.
-The Off-duty assignment which Sgt. Griffin was working at while allegedly defrauding the Town of Sharpsburg was arranged by the Chief of Police along with the scheduling of same. The Chief of Police was fully aware that Sgt. Griffin was working in an off-duty capacity during those hours.
-The criminal elements of Obtaining Property by False Pretense include that to be guilty, a person must:
Make a representation of a past or existing fact or a future event and That is false and
Is calculated and intended to deceive and
Does in fact deceive another person, and
The person thereby obtains, or attempts to obtain, money, property, services, or some thing of value from that other person.
None of the elements of this crime are present in this situation. There was no attempt to deceive or any property obtained which Sgt. Griffin was not due.
The Town of Sharpsburg is listed as the victim in this crime. At no point was any official of the Town of Sharpsburg ever contacted by the SBI or DA’s office to determine if charges should be pressed in this case.
The Police Chief and Town Administrator feel that this charge is inappropriate and do not feel that Sgt. Griffin commited any fraud in light of all the facts surrounding this case.
Sgt. Griffin was placed under a $10,000 secured bond at the request of the DA’s office. This bond amount is two to five times greater than the guidelines issued by the Chief District Court Judge regarding a charge of this nature.
This charge has absolutely no connnection with the recent charges filed against Dan Hales. Dan Hales has no official connection with the Sharpsburg Police Department and was charged for an incident which occurred while Mr. Hales was in a civilian ride along capacity. Mr. Hales was approved for ride-along status by previous departmental administration. No officers have been found to have conducted any criminally inappropriate actions by the SBI with regards to Dan Hales.
--End of news release.
WITN has confirmed a Sharpsburg police sergeant has been arrested and charged with a felony.
According to Nash County Sheriff's Office records, Frank Griffin was brought in Thursday and charged with obtaining property by false pretenses.
We contacted Sharpsburg officials. Because of personnel issues, they could only confirm Griffin was a sergeant in the police department and that he had been arrested and charged with a felony.