Patrol supervisor charged with prescription fraud

STAFF WRITERMay 5, 2009 

Agents with the State Bureau of Investigation charged a veteran Highway Patrol officer today with prescription fraud, court records show.

The SBI charged 1st Sgt. William Pete Wheeler, 35, of Cary with one felony count of obtaining a controlled substance by legal prescription by withholding information, according to records filed today with the City County Bureau of Identification.

Wheeler has been with the North Carolina Highway Patrol since February 1998.

"He is one of the supervisors of our training academy on Garner Road," Capt. Everett Clendenin, a patrol spokesman, said this afternoon.

Clendenin said the warrant indicated the prescription drugs involved were pain killers.

The Cary police department began investigating Wheeler in December. Police say they were contacted by pharmacy employees at the CVS Pharmacy at 1123 Kildaire Farm Road on Dec. 28.

Cary police Capt. Michael Williams declined to discuss his investigator's findings. "We identified what happened and then turned the case over to the SBI," Williams said.

SBI representatives were not available for comment this afternoon.

Clendenin said the patrol has been aware of the SBI investigation that led to Wheeler's arrest. "He's been on administrative duty -- in the office, out of uniform," Clendenin said.

One day before his arrest, the patrol placed Wheeler on "investigatory placement" pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Clendenin said.

thomasi.mcdonald@newsobserver.com or (919) 829-4533

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