Crime & Courts

Prosecutors: Sheriff tried to kick SBI agents out, withhold evidence during search warrant

Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid took actions to interfere with agents from the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation who were executing a search warrant at his office in April, a prosecutor with the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office told a judge the week after the warrant was executed.

Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid
Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid Catawba County

The remarks came during a closed court hearing held with the prosecutor and attorneys for Reid.

SBI agents executed a search warrant on the sheriff’s office as part of an investigation into allegations that the Sheriff’s son, Jason Reid, had used a GPS tracking device that belongs to the office to stalk an ex-girlfriend.

Reid was indicted in June on five charges, including felony embezzlement by a local officer and felony larceny and three misdemeanors for cyberstalking, stalking and willfully failing to discharge the duties of his office.

WBTV obtained a transcript of the closed court hearing through a public records request.

“When they presented the search warrant to the Sheriff he was in fact very upset,” Leslie Dismukes, the Criminal Section Chief at the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office and prosecutor on the case, told the judge.

Dismukes said Reid allowed the agents to begin the search authorized by the warrant but, according to her remarks, things were tense.

“It was very difficult at first,” Dismukes said. “The Sheriff did not want to give us access to anything. The documents that were turned over on Monday in your chambers were documents that the Sheriff had in his hand and took and walked away that were directly responsive to the search warrant himself.”

Dismukes went on to say that Reid kept the records responsive to the search warrant for several days until an attorney for the Sheriff’s Office produced the documents to prosecutors.

The transcript also shows Reid tried to kick the SBI agents out several hours after they arrived at his office.

“The Sheriff told SBI agents to go home. That he would not be there on Friday. That they close at 5:00, and the SBI agents had to leave, and they had to come back on Monday,” Dismukes is quoted in the transcript as saying.

According to the hearing transcript, the situation improved after Catawba County Attorney Debora Bechtel became aware of the search warrant being executed and arrived at the Sheriff’s Office.

“With respect to how the execution was, I will relate to the Court that our agents were very worried,” Dismukes said. “It became a very stressful situation at one point just before Mrs. Bechtel got involved.”

WBTV is a news partner of The Charlotte Observer.