Local News

Former Fayetteville Cop Went To High School With Others In Alleged Ring

Posted November 14, 2005 10:33 a.m. EST

— A former Fayetteville police officer and at least three others in an alleged nine-man burglary ring described in a federal indictment attended the same high school. Some were leaders of the varsity football team, and another was nominated for homecoming king.

"I'm just in shock," said Al Miller, the principal of Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville. "It's just not fitting at all."

A federal indictment unveiled last week accused former police officer Jared Parsek of abusing his police badge to lead the burglary ring that ripped off six homes in Fayetteville, Raleigh and Beech Mountain between September 2003 and November 2004. A hearing in the case was scheduled for Monday before a federal magistrate in Fayetteville.

The theft ring was uncovered during the investigation of the N.C. State tailgate shootings in 2004. The gun used in the shooting was linked to Parsek's friend, Justin McCarty, who the FBI found was connected to the break-ins.

Parsek, 26, learned through his police duties when homes would be unoccupied and tipped off the other men commit the break-ins, the indictment said. Parsek set up two burglaries while residents were in jail and another when the wife of a deployed Fort Bragg soldier was in the hospital, the indictment said.

According to the indictment, among the items taken were guns, marijuana, ski equipment, liquor and cash.

The Fayetteville police department has more than 300 officers, but some worry Parsek is giving the rest a bad name.

"It hurts the men and women here that work hard every single day because we're getting painted by a big brush. A long wide brush that just isn't right," said Fayetteville Police Chief Tom McCarthy.

Parsek's lawyer, Gerald Beaver, said Friday that he had not reviewed the case enough to comment. He said Parsek had been an honor roll student at Appalachian State University and had a clean record.

"This would be something obviously out of character with everything else in his past," Beaver said.

While several of the accused men had trouble with the law from the time they were teenagers, Fayetteville police said except for minor traffic violations and dismissed charges of underage drinking, Parsek had a clean record when they hired him in July 2003.

"If you can picture your typical high school jock, that's who he was," said Allison Russell, a former classmate who now teaches at Terry Sanford. "He seemed intelligent, he seemed definitely to have ethics and morals and knew right from wrong."

Parsek's high school yearbook photos show a clean-cut high school student, described as providing "strong leadership" as a defensive player on the football team. He also played varsity baseball and was a candidate for Mr. Bulldog, a title bestowed on the most popular seniors.

On the same football team was Patrick G. Smith, 25, of Spartanburg, S.C. who is named in the indictment as helping Parsek destroy stolen guns. Smith declined to talk about the indictment last week.

Another co-conspirator named in the indictment, Christopher P. Edge II, was two years younger at Terry Sanford. He belonged to the National Honor Society, ranked near the top of his class and was nominated for homecoming king in 2000, his senior year.

Parsek attended Appalachian State in Boone and earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice in December 2002.

Seven months later, in July 2003, he became an officer for the Fayetteville Police Department. The indictment accuses him of wrongdoing within his first three months on the job.

After Parsek responded to a call from a home, the resident, Trina Peredo, was taken to a hospital and her two sons were left home alone, she said in an interview last week. Her husband was deployed to Kuwait at the time. A pair of police officers escorted her boys to a friend's house, she said.

Parsek notified McCarty that the house was empty, the indictment said. McCarty and two other men kicked in the door and stole valuables, the indictment said.

Robert Draughon said he immediately suspected a Fayetteville police officer when his son Robbies home was burglarized in April 2004.

Two officers arrested him because his estranged wife, Judy, reported he had violated a restraining order. He said at that moment, he had $5,000 to $6,000 in his pocket because he'd just sold a vehicle. With the officers' permission, he went to the home of his son, who was out of town, before being taken to jail.

"They're the only two that knew where I put that money. Me and them two guys. ... They knew exactly where it was at," Draughon said.

While Draughon was in jail, Parsek went back to Draughon's son's house and took the wallet, the indictment said. It alleges that later that night, Parsek returned to the home with three men. They broke into the home and the Draughons said more than $40,000 worth of property was taken.

Fayetteville's police department fired Parsek in February. The department declined to specify the reason, citing employee privacy laws.