Date: Thursday, May 28, 2020
Location: Columbia, SC
Suspect(s): David G. Boggs Jr., 50, arrested on a Paducah warrant charging him with theft by unlawful taking (more than $10,000)
A man missing from Paducah since November 2018, and presumed by many to be dead, has been located by Paducah police and arrested in Columbia, SC.
David G. Boggs Jr. was arrested at about 9:15 a.m. (Paducah time) in a mobile home park in Columbia. He is accused of stealing nearly $25,000 from an account associated with Paducah’s annual Barbecue on the River when he was serving as executive director of the event.
The 18-month investigation began when Boggs left his home in downtown Paducah on Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018, and vanished. After he was reported missing, officials with Barbecue on the River told police that $24,955 was missing from the non-profit organization’s operating fund.
The ensuing investigation into the theft of the money led detectives to a social media scam in which Boggs was blackmailed for thousands of dollars. Det. Jason Hicks determined that Boggs had been writing checks to himself from the Barbecue on the River operating account for about six weeks to pay the blackmailer.
In early April 2020, Hicks received new information that led to the issuance of several search warrants for telephone and medical records. Following up on information received through those search warrants, detectives identified a potential friend of Boggs’ in Columbia, SC.
That friend was determined to be associated with a Facebook page aimed at assisting the homeless in Columbia. Detectives began the tedious process of watching videos and looking through photographs on social media.
Detectives recognized Boggs in a video and a photograph on social media postings and were able to identify the location as Finlay Park in Columbia, which is a known gathering spot for homeless people. The photograph showed him standing in line to receive items being handed out to homeless people.
On Wednesday, Detectives Corey Willenborg and Kevin Wilson travelled to South Carolina. With assistance from the Lexington County, SC, Sheriff’s Department’s Warrant Division Fugitive Team, the Paducah detectives began searching Columbia’s homeless community for Boggs. He was located at a mobile home park just outside of Columbia and arrested.
During an interview, Boggs admitted to stealing the money from Barbecue on the River. He told detectives that on Nov. 4, 2018, he walked the Greenway Trail and spent the night in the woods. The next morning, he said, he walked to a truck stop near Interstate 24 Exit 3 and began hitchhiking, trying to get to Florida. He said he ended up in South Carolina, where he spent the next six months living in the woods.
After the interview, he was booked into the Lexington County Detention Center, where he will await extradition to Kentucky.
“I’m incredibly proud of our detective division and how they never gave up in their search for Mr. Boggs,” said Police Chief Brian Laird. “They followed every lead and utilized resources and technology to solve the mystery surrounding Boggs’ disappearance.
“This is another good example of the great police work our officers do.”