Ex-Bay Head Police Chief Indicted on Theft, Misconduct Charges
Point Borough man allegedly diverted Bay Head PBA funds, used Bay Head municipal funds to buy personal items
Former Bay Head Police Chief Charles B. Grace Jr. is facing an indictment accusing him of using municipal funds to purchase personal items and using local PBA funds for his personal benefit.
According to the indictment handed up on Jan. 17 by an Ocean County grand jury, Grace, a Point Borough resident, is charged with two counts of official misconduct and single counts of theft and theft by deception.
Grace, 50, is accused of stealing "in excess of $200" from Bay Head municipal funds and using them to buy clothing, boots, a firearm, ammunition and a digital camera, diverting "in excess of $200" from the Bay Head/Mantoloking PBA Local 347 and stealing "in excess of $500" from the local PBA and "Bay Head Police Association," according to the indictment.
That brings the total of funds stolen or diverted to more than $900, according to the indictment, which is only a formal accusation and not a conviction.
Grace had been arrested in January 2011 and, at that time, relieved of his position by Ocean County Prosecutor Marlene Lynch Ford.
A grand jury upheld charges accusing Grace of using borough money to buy clothing, boots, a firearm, ammunition and a digital camera "based on the misrepresentation that those items were to be utilized by the Bay Head Police Department," the indictment states.
Grace also used his position to divert funds intended for his personal use, the indictment states, and also stole PBA and Bay Head Police Association money.
Michael Mohel, who had been deputy chief of the prosecutor's office at the time, had been named interim chief of the Bay Head department on the day Grace was arrested.
Mohel has since retired from the prosecutor's office.
At the time, Mohel said the day-to-day operations would be overseen by Lt. Robert Hoffman. In February, 2011, Hoffman was named acting chief.
On Tuesday morning, Hoffman said that the Bay Head governing body is waiting for resolution of the accusations against Grace before moving forward with promoting him to chief on a permanent basis. The police department has eight officers.
Mohel had said last year that it was not yet known exactly how much money Grace allegedly diverted, adding that his alleged crimes do not extend to any other members of the Bay Head department.
Grace, who had been chief of the department since 2005, was released on his own recognizance after being arrested last year.
Last year, Mohel said Grace was accused of stealing "in excess of $500" on April 10, 2007, in a complaint signed by Ray Gardner, a detective with the county prosecutor's office.
Grace has been chief since 2005, Mohel said. He was president of the Ocean County Chiefs of Police Association in 2010.
A Superior Court official in Toms River said attorney James Fagen, Freehold, is representing Grace. Fagen could not be reached immediately on Tuesday.