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LORIS, S.C. – A former North Carolina police chief who had 40 outstanding warrants and was believed to have drowned in a river was arrested in South Carolina on Thursday, authorities said.

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William Anthony Spivey, 36, was arrested just before 1 a.m., the Horry County Police Department said in a Facebook post. Bail was set at $1 million, The News & Observer of Raleigh reported.

According to the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office, Spivey was located at his aunt’s house in Loris, South Carolina, WRAL-TV reported. Deputies said Spivey ran into nearby woods but was taken into custody moments later, according to the television station.

Spivey, the former police chief in Chadbourn, originally was believed to have drowned after investigators found his abandoned boat in the Lumber River and his truck parked near the boat landing, the News & Observer reported. The truck contained a .22 caliber rifle with a discharged round still in it, WECT-TV reported.

“Deputies arrived on the scene, along with sheriff’s office investigators and special operations units, including the man tracking and dive units,” the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office stated in a news release. “As the sheriff’s office began to search the area, investigators spoke to Spivey’s friends and family who were at the scene. Investigators began collecting evidence. Family members described the incident as a possible suicide.

“As investigators collected video from surveillance systems and conducted interviews, it became even more apparent that the scene on the river was staged.”

He is facing dozens of criminal charges after being accused of repeatedly raiding the Chadbourn Police Department’s evidence room and stealing a variety of narcotics, WECT reported. Spivey is also accused of stealing thousands of dollars in cash and firearms.

In June 2021, Spivey was charged with embezzling $8,000 meant for a family whose relative died after a battle with leukemia, according to the television station.

Spivey was charged with 88 felony counts overall that included destroying evidence, embezzling state property, trafficking in opium and obstructing justice, the News & Observer reported.

After leaving the police force, Spivey worked for an auto body shop and was accused of stealing two catalytic converters, WRAL reported.