BRIDGETON, CRAVEN COUNTY - A Bridgeton commissioner is facing felony charges for allegedly growing marijuana at his home and stealing candy from a convenience store.
Commissioner Charles Freeman, who had previously served as Bridgeton's mayor pro-tem, was arrested Wednesday afternoon, investigators said.
Bridgeton Police Commissioner Keith Tyndall said he received a call about a larceny at the WilcoHess in Bridgeton at about 11 a.m. Wednesday.
"We went over and interviewed the manager of the WilcoHess, and she had a video of the larceny that occurred. Unfortunately it was a town official- Charles Freeman," Tyndall said.
The store manager reviewed the surveillance footage, which showed Freeman stealing candy, said Tyndall.
"I think it was a Reese's Cup and some miscellaneous candy," Tyndall explained.
When officers went to Freeman's home to ask about the alleged crime, they discovered several potted marijuana plants, Tyndall told NewsChannel 12.
"Upon his interview, we noticed there were pot plants growing in planters in the yard," said Tyndall. "So at that point, it turned into a drug bust."
Freeman has been charged with misdemeanor larceny, felony possession of marijuana, felony manufacture of marijuana, and felony possession for the purpose of manufacturing and selling.
"Of course we were disappointed and surprised," Tyndall said. "We didn't really expect this to happen, but you never know. I don't think it was anything he expected to happen either, to stem from a larceny."
Investigators said Freeman's first appearance in court is scheduled for Thursday morning.
Last year, Freeman was also part of a criminal investigation, but he was considered a victim. On Dec. 12, he was pistol-whipped as four men robbed his salon, according to deputies.
Freeman suffered cuts and bruises in the robbery at Salon 901 off Highway 70 in Bridgeton. At last check, deputies arrested two of the suspects, but were still looking for the remaining two.
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