Sheriff: Union County man hires contractor to illegally remove landscape median

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Photos: Union County Sheriff's Office 

An Indian Trail man is facing multiple charges following the unauthorized removal of a portion of a landscaping median in front of his home, according to the Union County Sheriff's Office. 

Ryan Kevin Smith, 32, of Braxton Drive, is charged with two counts of injury to real property and one count of felony conversion, deputies said. 

Last week, the Town of Indian Trail alerted deputies about the unauthorized removal of a section of the landscape median on Braxton Drive. Deputies responded to the scene and found an excavator sitting in the middle of the road where a portion of the median once stood. 

The investigation revealed that Smith had asked permission from the Town of Indian Trail to have a portion of the median removed but the request was denied. 

Smith, an engineer with the City of Monroe, was involved with the road construction project taking place on East Franklin Street. In that capacity, Smith allegedly hired Classic City Mechanical to perform work on this project for the City of Monroe. 

According to the Union County Sheriff's Office, at some point, Smith spoke with a superintendent with Classic City about hiring them to remove the median in front of his home but the superintendent refused, believing it to be a conflict of interest. Smith then allegedly spoke with another employee, a foreman, about doing the job and the foreman agreed. 

Deputies said Smith paid the foreman from personal funds to remove an excavator from the Monroe job site, on company time, and take it to his neighborhood to remove the median. The intent was to use asphalt left over from the City of Monroe project to pave the area where the median was removed. 

However, deputies disrupted the plan before the unauthorized project was finished. The streets of Brandon Oaks are maintained by the Town of Indian Trail but the landscaping material within the median are property of Brandon Oaks Homeowners Association. Therefore, the damage to the median involves two victims, deputies said. 

Smith posted bail this week and is out of jail awaiting his first court appearance.