NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - City Manager John Smithson announced Tuesday that William Bailey has been removed from his position as public safety director for the City of North Myrtle Beach.
Bailey is being demoted to the position of lieutenant with a corresponding reduction in pay, according to city officials.
Bailey was under fire after a gun was stolen from his car. He told investigators it was locked in his glove compartment and it was later revealed his glove compartment didn't have a lock.
According to North Myrtle Beach spokeswoman Nicole Aiello, Bailey will begin a two-week suspension without pay beginning Jan. 27. His administrative leave with pay will be charged to his accrued vacation for the period of Jan. 19-26.
Aiello also said the allegation that Bailey interfered with a charge against a local citizen is currently under consideration.
The city manager said in a written statement Tuesday night that he reserves the right to take further action regarding Bailey's employment status.
A search for a new public safety director will be initiated as soon as possible.
Horry County Police were dispatched to Bailey's home after the director reported two of his personal vehicles had been broken into between 10 p.m. Dec. 27 and 8 a.m. Dec. 28. Bailey told police he became suspicious of criminal activity after noticing his truck, parked in his driveway, had been left unlocked throughout the night.
After opening the driver's side door of the truck, a police report states Bailey found papers thrown over the seats and the glove compartment and center console opened. A handgun stored in the glove compartment, Horry County Police say, was among the items taken from the vehicle.
Bailey later discovered his wife's car, parked inside of a garage, had also been tampered with. Items were strewn across the inside of the vehicle, but Bailey was unable to identify any stolen items.
Further questioning of Bailey's family revealed his son discovered what he calls a "suspicious man" in the neighborhood around 2:30 a.m. on Dec. 21. When Bailey's son pulled over his vehicle to question why the man was in the area, he said he was visiting his girlfriend.
The man then proceeded to reach into his camouflage backpack, for what Bailey's son presumed to be a gun, and drove off. Bailey's son told police he returned to his home, grabbed two baseball bats, and unsuccessfully attempted to track the unidentified man down.
North Myrtle Beach officials released a statement revealing Bailey had been placed on administrative leave after an investigation revealed Bailey's glove box did not have a lock on it. As stated in an incident report, Bailey's gun could not have been safely stored inside of his truck.
Officials say the statements made by Bailey misled North Myrtle Beach administration about the security of the weapon.
"I take full responsibility and regret my actions regarding how the weapon was stored and the statements made by the city to media on December 29, saying the weapon was secured in a locked glove box. I made those statements to administration and approved their release," said Bailey.