Whiteville, NC – June 11, 2015 – Police say two men have been arrested on murder charges of Repo Man Jeffrey David Lowe, 37 after a deadly shooting in Columbus County early Tuesday morning.
It happened at a home in the 1400 block of Sunset Terrace Road west of Whiteville, according to Maj. Bobby Worley of the Columbus County Sheriff’s Office. Deputies responded around 3:30 a.m.
According to officials, Jeffrey David Lowe, 37, of Orrum, was attempting to repossess a vehicle at the residence when he was shot in the head. Maj. Worley says Lowe was pronounced dead at the scene.
William Roy Kohler, 51, and his son, William Roy Kohler III, 18, have each been charged with murder and discharging a firearm into an occupied vehicle.
No one else was injured during the shooting. Columbus County officials say the investigation is ongoing.
An autopsy on Lowe’s body is scheduled for Wednesday in Raleigh.
The deadly shooting of a man trying to repossess a car in Columbus County has left others in the industry shaken.
“It’s just tragic,” said Will Hewett, owner of Atlantic Coast Towing & Recovery in Wilmington. “People don’t think about the consequences of what they’re going to do, especially over a vehicle.”
Hewett said he spoke “multiple times a week” with Jeffrey David Lowe, who was shot and killed while trying to repossess a vehicle from a home near Whiteville just before 3 a.m. Tuesday.
Hewett said Lowe, who lived in Robeson County, was a family man and a professional.
“He always tried to be apologetic and explain to the people what they can do to get (their vehicles) back,” Hewett said.
A creditor is not required to give notice before repossessing a car, according to the N.C. Department of Justice. And the creditor or repossession agent may enter private property to seize a vehicle as long as there is not a “breach of the peace.”
“There’s not really a hard and fast definition” of breach of the peace, according to Samantha Cole, a Department of Justice spokeswoman. She said some courts have ruled that threats or acts of violence, entering a residence without permission, and physical confrontations are breaches of the peace.
Hewett, who has been in the repossession business for about 15 years, said agents often work overnight to avoid confrontations.
“We don’t try to be sneaky about it, but we try to get in there and take the car and get on out of there,” he explained.
Hewett said he wants the public to understand that repossession agents are just middle men trying to make a living.
“We’re just hired help,” Hewett said. “And most of us are just guys trying to support our family like everybody else.”
The American Recovery Association doesn’t track attacks against agents but said its members are rarely involved in such incidents.
“In order to keep our members safe, we provide educational programs and training for best practices to help ensure a recovery runs smoothly,” said Executive Director Les McCook. “We offer these programs because there is an alarming lack of training within the recovery industry for those who aren’t a member of a reputable association.”