Former Statesville officer turns self in after false report of stolen car, investigators say

STATESVILLE, N.C. — A former Statesville officer, who had been on the run for weeks after lying to police, turned himself in Thursday.

They said he filed a false police report by claiming someone stole his unmarked police car.

Search warrants in the case said Christopher Rivera, a former Statesville police officer, claimed someone hit him in the face outside his apartment and stole his police car. Seven hours later, it was found wrecked about 5 miles away.

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On New Year’s Eve, shortly after midnight, police said they got the call about a possible assault and robbery at the Glenwood Place Apartments in Hickory.

According to court documents, officers said Rivera appeared intoxicated and there was mud on his boots. The officer’s wife also had mud on her clothing.

Rivera claimed someone struck him and stole his unmarked police car. That car was found later wrecked and abandoned. Police said the ground was muddy, where they also found bootprints.

“As soon as Statesville Police Department found about the charges in Hickory, we put him on administrative leave and began our investigation,” Statesville Police Chief David Addison said.

Addison said his department has an ongoing internal investigation into the case.

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A search warrant said police found Rivera’s police-issued equipment in the trunk of his wife’s car. The gear was muddy, consistent with what they found at the crash scene.

Neighbors told Channel 9 police in Hickory have shown up at Rivera’s apartment for weeks after taking out warrants for filing a false police report. So far, they have not made an arrest.

The court documents said police believe Rivera wrecked his vehicle, causing $4,000 in damage, and called his wife for help, returning to the residence to file the false police report.

Statesville police said Rivera retired earlier this month, and they are reviewing all the cases he’s worked in Statesville.

"If there’s cases we can move forward on, then we will. We’ll have to talk with the district attorney on some of the other ones and make sure we have enough to move forward,” Addison said.

Channel 9 asked why Rivera was allowed to take the car home with him to Hickory. The chief said he could do that because he was an on-call investigator and lived within 22 miles.

Check back for updates on this developing story.