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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.

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