Jason Reid responds to criminal investigation

HICKORY, NC (WBTV) - Jason Reid, the son of Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid who is running to replace his dad as sheriff in Tuesday's primary, held a press conference on Monday afternoon to respond to the allegations detailed in two search warrants that were unsealed late Friday afternoon.

The warrants were served on the sheriff's office in mid-April as part of a criminal investigation led by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.

A judge sealed the warrants the same day they were executed at the verbal request of the personal attorney for Coy Reid. When a WBTV reporter tried to locate documents required to be made public regarding the sealing of the warrant, a judge sealed those documents, too.

Last week, a coalition of six media outlets that included WBTV successfully argued to a judge that the warrants should be unsealed.

At his press conference Monday, Jason Reid said he was not involved in the process that resulted in the warrants staying secret for weeks.

"I had nothing to do with this search warrant being sealed," Reid said. "I got to see the search warrant after the news media posted it."

Previous: SBI investigating sheriff's candidate accused of stalking ex-girlfriend

During Monday's press conference, Reid read from a prepared statement. He left immediately after he had finished reading his remarks and did not take any questions.

The bulk of the remarks were aimed at responding to an ex-girlfriend who has accused Reid of stalking her by placing a GPS tracking device on her vehicle.

WBTV spoke exclusively with that woman last month, before the warrants were executed, as part of an investigation into the criminal probe. The station agreed not to publish her name given the nature of the allegations she has made against Reid.

The woman told WBTV and special agents with the SBI that she found a GPS tracking device on her car last August after receiving a series of text messages from Reid that detailed her current location. She finally found the device, she said, when he texted her a picture of her parked car.

In the warrants unsealed last week, the SBI agent who submitted the sworn affidavit to obtain the warrant testified that cell phone records showed Reid had sent messages to the woman.

"Applicant received Verizon Wireless phone records, for the time period of July 31, 2017 thru (sic) August 4, 2017, for cellular number (redacted) utilized by Jason Reid, pursuant to the execution of a search warrant," the affidavit stated.

"The Historical Text Message Detail Report showed multiple communications transmitted/sent from the Google Account (redacted) to cellular number (redacted) which as state earlier, Verizon Wireless associated as Jason Reid's work number," the warrant continued.

But in his press conference Monday, Reid claimed the search warrant affidavit showed he didn't send any messages.

"The search warrant is clear there is nothing to support (the woman's) accusations that I texted her location," Reid said.

The search warrant said the following:

"[Redacted] confirmed Jason Reid started texting and calling [redacted] again when she began dating [redacted]. Around August 2017, Jason Reid began texting [redacted] with locations where she travelled while [redacted] was there, such as the mall."

During his press conference Monday, Reid also sought to use the fact that the SBI and FBI analysists that examined the GPS tracking device could not access any data stored on the device as proof that he did not track her location.

"After analysis by the SBI Intelligence Data section and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, there is not any phone record, screenshot, log, or proof to back up her claim," Reid said. "Furthermore, nothing was recorded by the tracker."

But Reid did not acknowledge the portion of the search warrant affidavit that explained the tracking device did not store data. Instead, the warrant said, the tracker was equipped with cell phone technology that sent real-time information about its location to a server that could be accessed via a phone or computer connected to the internet.

"Applicant located a (redacted) online which provided the ways customers could access their unit from a computer or a cell phone connected to the internet," the affidavit stated. "The guide noted if customers signed onto [redacted] they would be taken to the computer/PC [redacted] page or if the customers used [redacted] a mobile application, they would be taken to [redacted] web page portal where they could sign in as a mobile user."

Related: Catawba DA finds Sheriff candidate Jason Reid not credible to testify in criminal cases

The affidavit said agents would use the search warrants executed on the sheriff's office to locate sign-in logs to show who was accessing the data connected to the GPS tracker that was found on the woman's car.

Reid also made a number of criminal accusations against the woman who reported finding a tracker on her car last August. Because Reid's allegations cannot be substantiated at this point and because there is no evidence that Reid had attempted to report these potential crimes before Monday, WBTV is not publishing his claims.

Before quickly exiting the room, ignoring a barrage of questions from reports, Reid took a shot at state investigators.

"This entire situation is a political attack," Reid said. "This is the only search warrant they did not want sealed – even though as the judge says in his order, they put officers' lives and unrelated investigations in danger by not sealing it — this search warrant is the news they are trying to create."

Specifically, Reid said SBI investigators and prosecutors at the AG's Office were seeking to influence his race for sheriff.

"It's crystal clear this investigation is trying to influence the outcome of the Sheriff's election which affects the future of Catawba County."

Reid has ignored multiple interview requests from WBTV related to this investigation. His father, the sheriff, has agreed to two different interviews with WBTV that were to be held after the search warrants were executed on the sheriff's office, but did not show for either of them.

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