Charges against Columbus County commissioner dismissed in stolen barn case

Charges against Columbus County commissioner dismissed in stolen barn case
. (Source: Atit Phetmuangtong / EyeEm/EyeEm)

WHITEVILLE, N.C. (WECT) - Charges against Columbus County commissioner Giles “Buddy” Byrd have been dropped in connection with a barn theft earlier this year.

Byrd surrendered to deputies Sept. 18 on felony charges of larceny and possession of stolen property. At the time, he was accused of stealing a 10x16 Amish barn worth over $6,300 on July 23. The barn reportedly belonged to Carefree Rentals, LLC.

The avoid a potential conflict of interest, the Columbus County District Attorney’s Office requested an outside prosecutor handle the case.

Charles A. “Chuck” Spahos, the chief financial crimes prosecutor for the N.C. Conference of District Attorneys, in a notice of dismissal dated Oct. 28, wrote that the “state lacks proof beyond a reasonable doubt that [Byrd] knew the property was stolen."

Spahos added “subsequent investigation revealed that another individual signed the Landowner Permission for Placement of the Portable Unit form and was the only one the State can directly prove knew the property belonged to Carefree Rentals.”

No evidence existed that the person who signed that form told Byrd that the barn belonged to the company, according to the document.

“Based on the current evidence, the State declines to proceed with criminal prosecution,” he wrote.

Byrd, a Democrat, is facing Republican Raymond Battle Jr. for the District 3 seat on the Columbus County Board of Commissioners in November’s election.

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