Former Wrightsville Beach officer charged, accused of bribery

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) – A former police officer with the Wrightsville Beach Police Department was arrested and charged with two felony counts of bribery by a public official.

On August 31, 2020, a New Hanover County grand jury indicted 48-year-old Shaun Patrick Appler on bribery charges. Appler turned himself in at the New Hanover County Detention Center this morning.

Appler was arrested after an investigation by Special Agents with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation’s (SBI) Coastal District.

He has been charged with two felony counts of bribery by a public official. After going before a magistrate, he was issued a $5,000 unsecured bond.

The SBI investigation began on November 13, 2019, at the request of District Attorney Ben David.

The investigation found that in 2019, Appler, while a sergeant with the Wrightsville Beach Police Department, allegedly asked for nude photos and sex in exchange for what he called “free passes” (staying out of trouble when it comes to any possible law enforcement encounters) on the beach. The investigation is ongoing.

If anyone has additional information, please call the SBI Coastal District Office in Jacksonville at 910-346-2121. No additional information is available at this time.

According to Appler’s attorney, Woody White, Appler served the citizens of Wrightsville Beach for 19.5 years, keeping the peace and arresting dangerous and sometimes violent criminals, and drunk drivers.

“He and his wife have raised their family in New Hanover County and are long time members of this community. We will not be making any specific comment on the allegations at this time and will likely wait to do so when we can be assured of the protections afforded all Americans in a court of law,” White said.

White also said Appler has cooperated fully with the investigation, providing statements to the investigators earlier this year and being available to them when they asked him to be.

Categories: Local, New Hanover, Top Stories

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