Former Hamlet detective gets truck seized by his department

acurliss@newsobserver.comNovember 23, 2013 

Hamlet City Manager Marchell Adams-David says the whole “mess” with seized vehicles came to light after a call from a resident who became curious about why a city police detective, Michael Veach, suddenly had a red Chevrolet pickup truck in his yard that was involved in a murder case.

Records show that Veach handled a series of vehicle transactions early last year at Quality Salvage, a Hamlet junkyard. Police had apparently decided to clear out various seized vehicles they had stored near a sewer plant.

The junkyard paid $8,896 for 23 seized vehicles. The money was written in three checks made out directly to Veach – not to the city. Documents reflect cars being delivered for scrap on three different days in January last year.

Anna Jordan, a manager at the junkyard who signed one of the checks, said in an interview that the police detective specifically requested she write the check to him. She said she had no reason to question that arrangement.

City officials say Veach converted the checks to cash at a bank and kept it at the police station.

But the transaction surrounding the red pickup truck was handled differently. Adren Harris, a special deputy attorney general who reviewed the case, said the junkyard paid Veach $405 in cash to acquire the truck.

That’s unusual because it was done at the same time the junkyard wrote a check to Veach to purchase other seized cars.

According to Harris, Veach then reached into his pocket and paid that same amount, $405, to the junkyard to acquire the truck. That means the junkyard acted only as a pass through and made no profit on that truck. It paid him an additional $200 cash for some parts, city officials said.

Veach was fired by the city, which said his actions violated policy; the SBI found no criminal wrongdoing. He declined to comment. He is now working for his family’s tree service.

City officials say Veach told them police chief John Haywood approved the purchase arrangements. Haywood disputed that during a recent council meeting, saying he could not go into great detail but that there are two sides to every story.

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