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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A man is in jail charged with stealing a New Hanover County Sheriff’s deputy’s patrol vehicle late last week.

NHSO spokesman Sgt. Jerry Brewer says Friday one of the sheriff’s Alcoholic Beverage Control detectives stopped at a business on Castle Hayne Road to use the restroom. Brewer says the detective left the keys in the cupholder and thought he locked the doors using the remote key fob. However, when the officer came back, his unmarked GMC Traverse was gone.

Brewer says the detective immediately called his supervisor. A few minutes later, the car pulled back into the parking lot. Brewer said when the driver got out, the officer ordered him to get on the ground and arrested him.

Michael Wilton McGirt, 43, is charged with larceny of a motor vehicle and possession of a stolen vehicle. He was scheduled to make his first court appearance today.

Brewer says the stolen vehicle does not have visible emergency lights or a computer on the dashboard. He said it does have a police radio next to the seat out of view. Brewer said investigators believe McGirt may have heard the radio and realized just what kind of car he was in.

Brewer said the officer involved will not face any disciplinary action.

McGirt has a criminal record that includes convictions for assault on a female and interfering with emergency communications.

Comment on this Story

  • Reader44

    If he brought it back thats just an ordinary unauthorized use, misdemeanor eh?

  • vader

    I imagine the guy’s afterthought was he should have ditched the cruiser or pushed it into the river and run like a chicken with the Colonel behind it.

  • 12232445

    So why is this officers name not drag threw the mud too? After all if this guy would of hit someone or another car and hurt someone then this so called officer would be in trouble.. That’s how they always go after people saying what if. So this no name officer gets off scott free!!?? Both partys involved made really stupid mistakes and both should be disciplined!! That’s what’s wrong with the system and why officers think they have so much power, they never get in trouble for there mistakes but yet the public does. I hope this officer is very embarssed and knows he should get some training on how to do his job.. After all he is getting paid with the publics hard earn money!! Plus gets a free car to drive around in and leave keys in the ignition..(probably left it running) Cup holder my butt.. Nice cover up.. They both win dumbass of the day award..

  • johnny7

    Yes, a good lawyer should be able to plea criminal charge this down to moving violation such as “reckless driving” or “improper use of equipment” arguing mental impairment.

    I would recommend a counter-suit in civil court, in which the law enforcement officer is charged with gross negligence, failure to use reasonable care, and wanton endangerment because leaving the keys in the car is asking for car to be stole; it’s entrapment and I tear up just thinking of this injustice.

  • 1851658

    I agree it is not a good idea to steal any vehicle, especially a police vehicle, but seems as if they are going out of their way to trump up charges for more punishment and fines. I guess the officer is somewhat red-faced, as he should be. Seems like some disciplinary action would in order for him, but guess not. If the culprit had found the emergency light switch, there could have been a different ending to this story. Not so sure the officer would have gotten off with a little embarrassment and a few laughs or not. It is so easy to drop the keys in your pocket, at least for most of us. Also, why was the remote not on the key ring?

  • guest45

    And who’s to say he didn’t mistakenly take the wrong vehicle, and when he discovered it he was returning it, for Pete’s sake, we all know the sheriff says crime is down so he couldn’t have been stealing the thing.

  • Gustafo

    As a tax payer, did he not just “borrow” the car, seeing as how he helped pay for it? :)

  • 8987511

    If he put it back were it was why charge him I bet he accedientially had taken the car thinking it was his of something like that


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