BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- A Brunswick County business owner charged with dealing in stolen goods has filed a lawsuit against some big names in law enforcement. Andrew Gentile says he suing them for violating his constitutional right and harassment.
The 43-page lawsuit names the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office, Sheriff John Ingram and former Assistant District Attorney Meredith Everhart among others for a variety of missteps.
"One of the most intriguing facts to us is that Mr. Gentile could end up being charged for a crime in which he had initially been deemed a victim," Gentile's attorney Brad Hill said. "That's something that you don't see too often."
Andrew and Christine Gentile allege the Brunswick County Sheriff's Office started targeting and harassing them because of Andrew's work as a private investigator.
Deputies arrested Andrew for knowingly possessing stolen goods, even though the woman who sold the items to his pawn shop has been convicted of defrauding the business during the sale.
Gentile's attorney says this is just one example of issues his client had with the sheriff's office.
"It's just tough to believe that the proximity and the number of times that these things weren't merely a coincidence," Hill said.
In the suit the Gentiles make a number of claims including false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and the counts of violating his constitutional rights. The Gentiles want damages of more than $10,000 on each of the seven accusations, because they claim their business has suffered.
"His business has definitely suffered if for no other reason than he can't get on the stand, and that's a big part of his job as a private investigator," Hill said. "To that extent, he is damaged goods until his name is cleared."
The sheriff's office would not comment on the pending lawsuit.
Everhart, who now works for the City of Wilmington, also would not talk about the case.