The small town of Cherryville woke Wednesday morning to the sight of FBI agents pacing outside the Police Department.
The agents, along with Mayor Bob Austell, were not providing information about why the agents were in Cherryville.
"I am not at liberty to say," said Austell.
When Eyewitness News contacted Cherryville City Hall, spokesman Jeff Cash said he was taken by surprise by the FBI raid.
"I was asked to come to the Police Department around 8 a.m. and sign a document, and I did that," said Cash.
Federal agents went to work, pulling evidence from an unmarked patrol car and searching inside the houses of multiple police officers -- each of them accused of providing protection for the transport of stolen goods across Gaston County.
Scotty Furr, a Cherryville resident, couldn't believe it.
"It makes me lose confidence in the people we call on and the people we paid to keep us safe and keep our family safe," said Furr.
For Cherryville, a city where the city manager was abruptly fired and an employee was caught embezzling money, it's another scandal.
Summer Britain, a Cherryville resident, has little sympathy for the officers arrested today.
"They've done a lot of people wrong in this town, a lot of us," said Britain.
On Thursday Police Chief Woody Burgess and Captain Mike Allred were suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
Cash named himself interim police chief and will run day-to-day operations.