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NEWARK, NJ—Rutgers still has not confirmed whether or not a police officer criminally charged with stealing $30,000 from her union is on the official University payroll, but a source says she was suspended without pay in March.
Grace Stewart was the treasurer of the Rutgers Fraternal Order of Police Local #62, and is charged with one count of third-degree theft for stealing $30,000 over a three-month period.
The source says that investigators “have video of her using the accounts debit card in [Atlantic City], and at Home Depot and a moving company.”
“She had just become treasurer in October of 2014 and all the money was gone by March 2015,” said the source.
But that was not enough to cause authorities to arrest her. Instead, Stewart was given a court summons, and was not taken into custody.
“She was given a summons,” confirmed Katherine Carter, a spokesperson for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. “There is no bail. She was not arrested.”
Stewart is a 34-year-old resident of Roselle and has been on the force since 2013. According to salary information provided by Rutgers before her suspension, she earned $47,493 per year.
“Stewart was treasurer for the FOP. In that capacity she had access to the FOP debit card,” reads a short statement issued by the prosecutor’s office on May 19.
“Another officer noticed money missing and an investigation was done resulting in the charge,” it continues.
Stewart’s arraignment, or her first court appearance on this matter, is scheduled for June 2 before Essex County Superior Court Judge Michael L. Ravin.
The case is being handled in Essex County where Carolyn Murray is the Acting County Prosecutor, “because the alleged crime occurred in Essex County,” according to Carter.
Charlie is the founder and editor of New Brunswick Today, and the winner of the Awbrey Award for Community-Oriented Local Journalism. He is a proud Rutgers University journalism graduate and a community organizer, and an independent candidate for Mayor of New Brunswick.