The island’s Independence Day fireworks, launched from the end of the NPS parking lot on July 2, were suspended briefly when one misfired and landed in the marsh. OVFD firefighters, who are always on the scene for the fireworks, quickly extinguished the fire and the show went on. Photo by the OVFD 

By Connie Leinbach

Chatter in July on an island Facebook page centered on several thefts, albeit minor, still annoyances to the property owners.

Yet these incidents were not reported to the Hyde County Sheriff’s Office.

“We don’t monitor Facebook,” said Capt. Joe Smith of the Ocracoke office. “If there’s a theft, they need to report it and we’re more than happy to take their report.”

Reporting for the period of June 16 to July 15, Smith said he responded to complaints one night in July that kids were yelling while driving around in a golf cart. There were reports of five bikes stolen (later found) that night and a flag off someone’s porch, also later found down the road, he said.

“I chased those kids all over the island that night and never found them,” he said.

The next night someone threw a liquor bottle through a car windshield and later, someone threw a full beer bottle at the back windshield of another car, he said.

Both windshields were broken and listed as damage to property. Smith thinks it was the visitor kids since the shenanigans stopped after that week.

Smith also reported the following:  Three calls about dogs barking; 27 traffic stops, eight lost-and-found properties and five accidents.

Five “disturbances” involved arguments between neighbors or tourists at businesses and two parking complaints.

Smith said deputies are still having an issue with motorists exceeding the 20-mph island-wide speed limit.

While four noise disturbances of loud music at homes were called in, Smith said they have stopped responding to loud music calls.

“There’s nothing we can do,” he said about the lack of a noise control ordinance.

As for his first July 4 holiday on the island, Smith, who joined the force earlier this year, said the events went well.

“There appeared to be a large number of people on the island for the holiday and everything went well for our office with only a few minor calls,” he said, “which are to be expected with a large number of people.”

Although last month he reported that a fifth deputy would be hired, that fell through when the new person decided to find another position because he could not find housing.

“The housing situation is tough here,” he said. “When people find out the problems with housing they don’t want to come here.”

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