Sheriff upset over 'elaborate ruse orchestrated' by former Chadbourn police chief evading arrest

26 February 2022

— Former Chadbourn Police Chief Anthony Spivey was taken into custody in Columbus County after faking his own death and leading police on a days-long search both on land and underwater. Officials called the investigation a “fiasco.”

Spivey faces dozens of criminal charges connected to actions while he was Chadbourn’s chief, including mishandling evidence, drug trafficking and embezzling. WECT reports Spivey is accused of repeatedly raiding the police department’s evidence room and stealing a variety of narcotics, thousands of dollars in cash and firearms.

Two people were charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly helping Spivey fake his death. Debbie Bridgers Sasser and Harold Dean Sasser were arrested on Thursday charged with a felony count of obstructing justice.

Officials said that while the now-meaningless search was frustrating, they hope Spivey will stay in jail under a $5 million bond until his day in court.

“And to paraphrase Mark Twain, the news of Mr. Spivey’s death has been greatly exaggerated,” said Brunswick County District Attorney Jon Davis.

Davis said that while investigators were skeptical, the days-long search along the Lumber River was necessary.

“It’s frustrating, but if we had it all over to do again, we would not advise to do anything else,” he said. “Understand that we have to take reports of someone’s suicide, and the fact that they’re missing in the river, with sincerity.”

Spivey was arrested at his aunt’s house in South Carolina on Thursday. Brenda Rowele told WMBF News she didn’t know her nephew was on the run from the authorities.

The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office said more than $64,000 in taxpayer money was spent on the search. Sheriff Jody Greene wants Spivey and all those who are accused of helping him hide to pay the money back.

“Time and equipment used to investigate this elaborate ‘ruse’ if you will, orchestrated by Anthony Spivey and his band of misfits,” he said. “Please know that I am seeking restitution from these defendants.”

But Greene said that the investigation cost more than money.

“It’s time away from your family, it’s the cost of a risk of your personal safety, and it’s a lost opportunity cost, a cost that comes from crimes that are not investigated or followed upon.”

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