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Former Cherryville Police Chief Charged In Federal Court With Embezzlement

Former Cherryville Police Chief Woodrow Paul Burgess, who retired last year, has been charged in federal court with embezzlement, according to court documents filed Monday.

The United States District Court for the Western District of North Carolina says that Burgess, 60, obtained by false pretense more than $11,000 from the city of Cherryville.

According to court documents, Burgess instructed then Finance Director Bonny Alexander to make several checks payable to the Great Outdoors so that Burgess could purchase firearms for his personal use.

Burgess told Alexander the checks had been authorized for “cash-out” for “compensatory time,” the documents said.

Alexander wrote the checks and made note of them in the city’s books.

The court documents state that Burgess was aware that he did not qualify for cash payments for sick, vacation or comp time.

The guns that Burgess purchased with the money from the city may be subject to forfeiture, court documents state. Those include one Browning high power 9mm handgun, one Smith & Wesson MP340 347 caliber revolver and one Browning BPS shotgun.

Check back for more information on this developing story.

Staff Researcher Maria David contributed
Charlotte Observer