A local magistrate remains on the job and on the payroll, despite an SBI investigation into criminal allegations.
John Searcy, a former Rockingham police officer, has been a magistrate in Richmond County for more than decade.
State officials confirmed to Channel 9 that Searcy has been the subject of an SBI investigation since Feb. 21, at the request of local authorities.
They would not comment on the nature of the allegations, but sources tell Eyewitness News that Searcy allegedly sold a stolen handgun to the brother of a current Rockingham police officer. Sources told Channel 9 the man asked his brother, Officer Glenn Harris, to check the serial number on the gun and that is when police discovered the gun had been listed as stolen during a robbery in Richmond County.
Searcy has not been placed on leave or suspended during the course of the SBI investigation.
Eyewitness News reached out to Chief District Judge Scott Brewer, the only person with the power to suspend Searcy, to ask about Searcy's job status.
Brewer refused to comment on his decision in a phone conversation.
Channel 9 went to Searcy's office and his home Wednesday and spoke with his wife, but Searcy did not reply to a request seeking comment.
Residents were shocked by the allegations, but said action needs to be taken while he is under investigation.
"You don't need to let it go just because he's a magistrate. You don't need to let it go because he is just like we are," said Rockingham resident Gail Broom.
State officials said after they have completed the investigation, they will refer Searcy's case to a special prosecutor.