CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Jason Reid, a former captain in the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office who ran unsuccessfully to lead the office last year, pleaded guilty to multiple criminal charges Monday morning in connection with allegations he places a GPS tracking device on the car of his ex-girlfriend.
Reid pleaded guilty to one count each of felony theft of government property, cyber-stalking and willful failure to discharge duties of his office.
The plea was the result of a deal reached between Reid’s attorney and prosecutors with the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office, who prosecuted the case.
As part of the deal, the AG’s Office agreed to not pursue additional criminal charges as a result of additional information uncovered during the course of the investigation.
The terms of the deal also stipulated that Reid would not face jail time. As a result, Reid was sentenced to a six-to-17 month suspended sentence, 30 months of supervised probation and 240 hours of community service. As part of his plea, Reid also had to surrender his law enforcement license.
The accusations were first brought to light by a WBTV investigation. The station interviewed Reid’s ex-girlfriend, who WBTV has not identified by name and who was only referred to by her initials in court, in early April 2018. At the time, the woman had reported her discovery of a tracking device on her car to law enforcement but little, if any, action had taken place.
Following WBTV’s request for information as part of its own investigation, Lincoln County District Attorney Mike Miller requested the AG’s Office prosecute the case.
The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant on the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office the same day the agency confirmed its investigation to WBTV.
“Today closes an unfortunate chapter which has effected the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office, law enforcement and the County as a whole. Events like this have a profound impact on the public’s trust in law enforcement," Catawba County Sheriff Don Brown said in a statement after Reid’s plea. "When I took office in December of last year I immediately ordered an internal investigation into this matter and other allegations of criminal conduct. Today, with the conclusion of our investigations and the guilty plea in Lincoln County, we can now move forward. It has been and will continue to be a priority of mine to restore and build public trust and confidence in the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office.”
The victim made the discovery nearly two years ago after she said she received repeated text messages from Reid describing her current location and, in one instance, a picture of her car parked in a public location.
“I was receiving text messages from him telling me places where I was, which led me to believe that there was something on my phone or on my car,” the woman said in an interview.
A year ago, Reid held a press conference in response to the charges and said he was the victim of harassment by his ex-girlfriend. His father called it an abuse of power. Those statements were referred to in court Monday.
In exchange for the plea, the state would not pursue other charges from facts and information uncovered in their investigation.
The woman told WBTV she provided the GPS tracking device and evidence of Reid’s text messages to the SBI, in addition to sitting for an interview.
The law firm representing her released a statement about Reid’s guilty plea Monday afternoon:
“[The victim] is aware that today Jason Reid pled guilty to various charges related to stalking and the unlawful usage of Catawba County’s GPS tracking devices to do so. Now that the criminal case is resolved, we look forward to reaching an amicable solution with the Catawba County Sheriff’s Department. [The victim] has suffered a huge invasion of privacy, a blatant violation of her constitutional rights, and a loss of personal peace. Because of these circumstances, [the victim] no longer associates law enforcement with safety and security. Our primary objective is to ensure that no other citizen will have to experience the mistreatment that [the victim] has suffered and is continuing to endure.”