Sheriff: Wilmington man steals big rig, falls from rafters insid - WECT, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Sheriff: Wilmington man steals big rig, falls from rafters inside NC plant during standoff

Kylen Padgett Jr. (Source: WRAL) Kylen Padgett Jr. (Source: WRAL)
Padgett is accused of stealing a big rig from a driver in Wilmington. (Source: Viewer submitted) Padgett is accused of stealing a big rig from a driver in Wilmington. (Source: Viewer submitted)

A man was in custody Tuesday after he allegedly hijacked a big rig in Wilmington on Monday and forced the tractor-trailer driver to take him to a wood pellet manufacturing plant, where he scaled a 50-foot interior beam and stayed perched in the rafters for over 16 hours during a standoff with law enforcement authorities.

Kylen Padgett Jr., 30, of Wilmington, was rushed for treatment to Halifax Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for injuries he suffered during the fall at the Enviva plant and released, Northampton County Sheriff Jack Smith said.

Padgett, who has a lengthy criminal record and has been featured on a true crime reality television show, was being held Tuesday on a $326,000 bond at the Northampton detention center, authorities said. The charges facing Padgett include kidnapping, resisting arrest and probation violation.

The standoff at the Enviva plant, which is in Garysburg, N.C., and manufactures wood pellet chips during around-the-clock shifts, prompted authorities to evacuate the facility for over 16 hours while they waited for Padgett to come down from the rafters. Officers from the Northampton County Sheriff's Office and the State Bureau of Investigation responded to the plant during the incident.

"In this case, a human being has to, at some point, come down," Smith said. "It may take a couple of days but we weren't going to risk anybody being killed or injured to get him down when we had time on our side."

Authorities said the episode began when Padgett ordered the unidentified driver of a tractor-trailer to take him to the Enviva manufacturing facility. Sheriff's deputies were called to the scene around 3 a.m. and found the driver, who was not hurt during the incident.

Padgett said the man refused to leave from inside the big rig, which was parked at the plant, authorities said.

Padgett left the tractor-trailer and climbed atop a narrow pole inside the facility, where he stayed for several hours as deputies tried to wait him out because he did not respond to their requests.

The plant's workers were ordered out of the building while law enforcement authorities tried to get him to come down.

Smith said Padgett fell down after 10 p.m. and was taken for medical treatment before being taken to jail.

Padgett has had previous run-ins with the law.

According to the state Department of Public Safety, Padgett's previous charges date back 15 years and include offenses like larceny, drug use, receiving stolen goods and possession of stolen goods.

His troubles with the law landed Padgett a spot on reality crime show.

An episode of "I (Almost) Got Away With It ," which airs on the Discovery Channel, featured a 2007 crime spree by Padgett in Wilmington and New Hanover County.

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