Recording devices found in sheriff’s office during Will Lewis probe

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Search warrants obtained by 7News shows SLED agents found cameras hidden in smoke detectors in the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office during the investigation into Sheriff Will Lewis. 

Lewis was suspended from office on April 17 after he was indicted on two charges of misconduct in office and obstruction of justice.

SLED started investigating Lewis after they self-reported a complaint of sexual harassment from former assistant Savanah Nabors in August of 2017. 

Right after the indictments were served, SLED agents descended on the Law Enforcement Center.

Agents began to interview additional Greenville County Sheriff’s Office employees and conduct searches of offices at the LEC. 

During SLED interviews with three command staff members in January of 2018, they all stated Lewis made several comments over the past few months about employees being recorded.

During those interviews a captain stated he provided Lewis with recording equipment after he asked for it to record the public.

That captain gave Lewis and his chief deputy with instructions on how the cameras worked. The captain also stated he was asked if anyone at the sheriff’s office had the equipment to locate or detect listening devices. 

During SLED’s investigation, they were also told that Lewis asked technical services to purchase him an HP Envy Laptop with sheriff’s office funds.

That sergeant told SLED that Lewis instructed him to leave the laptop in a box and not to hook it up to the sheriff’s office network, and that he intended to use it for personal notes. 

On April 17, SLED agents searched the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office and found an RF detector in Lewis’ office, several cameras hidden in smoke detectors in other GCSO offices and two clocks equipped with recording devices in Lewis’ vehicle.

All of the recording devices were equipped with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi monitoring capabilities, according to SLED. 

When Lewis turned in his county issued equipment for his suspension, the HP Envy laptop was not included, according to agents. That is when agents obtained a search warrant for Lewis’ home. 

As part of the affidavit, agents state that there is probable cause that Lewis was in violation of the Wiretapping Act by illegally intercepting conversations of his subordinates.

Agents also stated they believed the HP Envy laptop was used to store or obtain the recordings from the devices found. 

SLED served that warrant at Lewis’ home on April 18, seizing more than 40 items — including 8 laptops, 2 iPads, 3 phones, 12 jump drives, 10 VHS tapes, 2 CD discs, and a GPS. 

Solicitor Kevin Brackett, who is handling the investigation, has stated the investigation is ongoing and more arrests, or charges, are possible. 

We reached out to former Sheriff Steve Loftis to see if he had ever installed any recording devices.

He stated during his tenure he installed a camera inside his office for a short time that did not record audio, after he feared someone was breaking into his office. 

Lewis’ attorneys did not provide comment at the time of this story. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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