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Police Chief resigns amid FBI probe

Staff Writer

Cherryville Police Chief Woody Burgess, who was placed on suspension earlier this month in connection with a federal probe of his agency, handed a resignation letter to Interim City Manager Jeff Cash on Monday, but the action won’t go into effect until Thursday, Cash said.

City officials suspended Burgess and the department’s captain, Mike Allred, after three Cherryville officers, a Gaston County Sheriff’s reserve officer and two city residents were arrested for safeguarding stolen property and proceeds from their sale, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office.

Accused Cherryville officers include Frankie Dellinger, 40, Casey Crawford, 32, and David Mauney III, 23. Additional defendants are Cherryville residents John Ashley Hendricks, 47, and Mark Ray Hoyle, 39, along with Sheriff’s Reserve Officer Wesley Golden, 39.

Among the charges filed against the men are conspiracy to transport and/or receive stolen property, conspiracy to extort under color of official right, program fraud bribery, money laundering, aiding and abetting and possession of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation knew about Dellinger’s alleged criminal activity in 2011 and immediately setup a rouse to target the “dirty” cop and others who may have been working with him by requesting officers’ legal authority in transporting stolen goods through the area on tractor trailers, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Officers additionally defamed their badges by accepting cash bribes from the undercover agents, whom they believed to be “criminals” in the scheme, federal authorities have said.

Police Chief Burgess’s resolution to resign this week was hardly a surprise to city officials.

He initially announced his retirement in July but withdrew his decision after his wife experienced some medical complications, Cash told the Times-News this morning.

“We were expecting it (retirement) at the end of the year anyways,” he said.

Following resignation, Burgess plans to complete his retirement paperwork.

In the meantime, Sgt. Cam Jenks will be heading the department until further notice. Cash officially named Jenks acting police chief on Oct. 22 after Cash, also the city fire chief, served in the position for a handful of days following the defendants’ arrest.

Allred remains on paid leave “pending the outcome of the investigation,” Cash said.

Dellinger, Golden and Hoyle remain without bond in the Mecklenburg County jail.

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