Tuesday, 22 December 2020 12:11

Suspected Ponder trailer thief extradited to Richmond County

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Hamlet PD Lt. Donald Ray Morton, right, escorts 45-year-old Darrin Coke Bryant to the Richmond County Magistrate's Office on Dec. 22. Bryant is accused of stealing an equipment trailer belonging to The Ponder Project and a Cadillac from Griffin Automotive in October 2019. Hamlet PD Lt. Donald Ray Morton, right, escorts 45-year-old Darrin Coke Bryant to the Richmond County Magistrate's Office on Dec. 22. Bryant is accused of stealing an equipment trailer belonging to The Ponder Project and a Cadillac from Griffin Automotive in October 2019. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — More than a year after allegedly stealing a local band’s equipment trailer, the accused is back in Richmond County to stand trial.


Lt. Donald Ray Morton and Officer Hayden Evans with the Hamlet Police Department drove to Greenville, South Carolina, on Tuesday to pick up Darrin Coke Bryant and bring him before a magistrate.

Bryant, 45, is charged in the theft of The Ponder Project’s equipment trailer from a home on Dogwood Lane in late October of 2019.

The band had offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to the discovery of the trailer and its contents, which included sound and lighting equipment and several instruments.

Investigators say neither the trailer nor any of the equipment was ever recovered.

The truck Bryant was allegedly driving, a stolen Toyota Tundra, was reportedly seen by witnesses and caught on video hauling the trailer down Main Street around 1:30 a.m. Oct. 26 — in the early morning hours just prior to the annual Seaboard Festival.

Investigators say Bryant returned to Hamlet Oct. 28 and stole a 2015 Cadillac CTS from Griffin Automotive. The car was later recovered in Bennettsville, South Carolina.

Police say they received a Crime Stoppers tip that Bryant had used a fake name Nov. 3 when admitted to a hospital in Greenville County after hitting a deer while riding a motorcycle.

While being escorted into the Richmond County Magistrate’s Office on Tuesday, Bryant walked with a cane.

The truck, stolen from Greer, South Carolina, was involved in a chase with the Greenville Police Department, investigators say.

Bryant was arrested Nov. 10, 2019 in South Carolina.

The Hamlet Police Department served Bryant with arrest warrants Tuesday charging him with two counts of felony larceny and one count of larceny of a motor vehicle.

South Carolina court records show Bryant still has 16 pending charges in Greenville County, including forgery, obtaining a signature or property under false pretenses, identity fraud and possession of less than a gram of methamphetamine or cocaine base.

All defendants facing criminal charges are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

The Ponder Project had a gig scheduled at Hudson Brothers Deli the week after the trailer was stolen and, with a little help from friends, was able to play the show.

The band recently performed in the Cole Auditorium’s outdoor “car”cert series and was named finest musician or band in Carolina Country magazine’s Carolina’s Finest 2020 contest.