Former WBPD investigator indicted on embezzlement charges

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The North Carolina Attorney General’s office said a former Wrightsville Beach police officer has been indicted on charges of embezzlement by a New Hanover County Grand Jury. Lieutenant Hovie Pope Jr. was served an Order for Arrest by a grand jury on a True Bill of Indictment for Embezzlement.

Pope turned himself in at the New Hanover County Courthouse earlier this week on charges of embezzling $31,680 and was given an unsecured bond of $10,000. The funds were embezzled from the North Carolina Internal Affairs Investigators Association during the time Pope was an active member of that organization.

Pope served as the association’s president from 2002-2003, and its treasurer. The North Carolina Internal Affairs Investigators Association still lists Pope as one of its honorary members.

Due a conflict of interest with the New Hanover County District Attorney’s office, Pope’s case will be prosecuted by Mitchell Garrell, an attorney selected by the North Carolina Conference of District Attorney’s office in Raleigh, said NCCDA White Collar Crime Resource Prosecutor Tammy Smith on Friday, Aug. 1.

The NCCDA is not part of the North Carolina Department of Justice or the state Attorney General’s office.

Although his case is not being prosecuted by the New Hanover County District Attorney’s office, Pope will be tried in New Hanover County and his court date is set for Aug. 11.

Pope was most recently a special deputy with the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Department as well as an employee of Kellum Law Firm.

Pope joined the Kellum Law Firm on Sept. 10, 2013.

A January 2013 report on WECT said Pope was being investigated by the SBI in “conjunction with federal crimes.”

Pope held a distinguished career of more than 40 years with the Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach police departments, as well as the New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office where he was employed for nearly 11 years from December 2000 to September 2012.

He is a graduate of New Hanover High School, the University of North Carolina Wilmington and Cape Fear Community College, where he pursued additional studies in the Criminal Justice field earning the Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate in 1981.

Pope served in the U.S. Navy including a tour of Vietnam and has been the recipient of numerous recognitions. He was awarded the “Order of the Long Leaf Pine” by previous Governor Mike Easley in 2008. In addition he received the Life Saving award in 2003 and was recognized as the Officer of the Year by Grace Baptist Church.

Pope has also been is a general instructor in the Basic Law Enforcement Training Program, Adjunct Instructor for the North Carolina Justice Academy and in-service instructor for Law Enforcement Agencies.

-Pat Bradford contributed to this story.

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