Second Harvey Cedars Officer Charged With Theft

Police Chief Reasserts Department’s ‘Great Service’
Jun 19, 2019

Harvey Cedars — In the wake of a second officer charged with theft of moveable property, Harvey Cedars Police Chief Robert Burnaford wants to reassure residents “that they can expect the same great service.”

“All shifts are fully staffed,” he said. “We are all set and want to be out there to serve the public like we always have.”

Late last week, Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that Detective Christopher Oldham, 32, of Manahawkin, was arrested and charged with theft of movable property, tampering with evidence and filing a false police report in connection with his employment with the department as a detective with the Harvey Cedars Police Department.

Billhimer said the Professional Standards Unit of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office investigated the matter following an audit by the police department. He said the audit revealed a silver necklace, valued in excess of $200, was missing from the evidence room while Oldham was the custodian of evidence.

The prosecutor said further investigation revealed that Oldham, son of Mayor Jonathan Oldham, indicated the necklace was unclaimed property and had been turned over to the borough to be auctioned. An audit revealed that the necklace was never turned over to the borough.

Billhimer said Oldham will be suspended from the department without pay pending resolution of the criminal charges filed against him.

“Because it is an ongoing investigation by the prosecutor’s office, we can’t comment at this time,” said Borough Commissioner Michael Garofalo, who is public safety chairman.  

Oldham is the second borough officer within the last month to face the same charge. In early May, former Sgt. Sean Marti pleaded guilty to a charge of theft of movable property in connection with using a police department ATV for his own personal use. Marti, son of the late former Mayor Harry Marti, is due to be sentenced June 20 and was terminated by the department.

Losing both Marti and Oldham reduced the number of fulltime officers to six. As a result, the borough has hired four seasonal officers: Stephen Adams, Charles Ferrara, Sean Frank and Amanda White.  

“All have had prior experience as seasonal officers,” said Borough Clerk Daina Dale. “This will get us through the summer, with the possibility of some or all becoming fulltime after that.”  —E.E.

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