SOUTH AMBOY, NJ—Detective Matthew Barcheski became the first police officer in 2017 to be charged with crimes by Middlesex County's prosecutor on February 23, when theft and official misconduct charges were filed against him.
Barcheski is 39 years old and has been with the South Amboy Police Department (SAPD) since 2005, according to the official statement. NJ.com's Spencer Kent reported that he makes an annual salary of $114,010.
County Prosecutor Andrew Carey's office says in the statement that Barcheski stole approximately $3,000 "in cash that was seized during criminal investigations and held as evidence at the South Amboy Police Department."
It is not clear if Barcheski is still drawing a salary, or if he has been suspended from the job. The county jail's records department confirmed that no one with that name had been admitted to the facility, indiciating Barcheski has most likely not been taken into custody.
Barcheski joins a growing group of Middlesex County law enforcement officers to be prosecuted by their fellow authorities. Carey has made a name for himself by charging multiple officers in Woodbridge and Edison, as well as the now-former Chief of Perth Amboy's Police Department.
Barcheski began his law enforcement career with the notorious Middlesex County Sheriff's Office in 2003, during the reign of ten-term Sheriff Joseph Spicuzzo, who was recently released from prison after pleading guilty to selling cop jobs.
However, Barcheski apparently ended up suing Middlesex County over the terms of a "Payment Reimbursement Agreement" related to his two years employed as a Sheriff's Officer.
Barcheski has been police officer in South Amboy since 2005 and until recently, served as a member of the Middlesex County Special Operations Response Team (SORT).
Indeed, many times in the past, the MCPO has worked with Barcheski on cases, asking the public to call him directly if there was more information about certain cases, including one against a Catholic school teacher ,
Barcheski was also involved in key investigations, such as one where a large fire at a supermarket was deemed accidental, and another incident where a dead body washed ashore.
Unlike in many of the cases prosecuted involving private citizens, Carey's office tends to be much more secretive about its investigations into police.
For example, no "mugshot" photograph was made available, or included in the MCPO's press release, which was not sent to New Brunswick Today due to all of our reporters having been removed from their press list in February 2016.
New Brunswick Today was not able to obtain a photograph of Barcheski, and it appears he was not arrested at all.
Instead, he will most likely remain a free man, and could even return to duty if he hasn't already.
Prosecutors gave no specific time period for when the thefts occurred, possibly because those facts could provide a basis to taint evidence in other cases if defense attorneys knew that an allegedly corrupt cop had been taking things out of the SAPD's evidence room for their own benefit.
Instead, the statement issued to the press only said that Barcheski had taken "the money in various amounts from the department’s evidence storage room over an undisclosed period of time."
The charges were filed during an investigation by MCPO Detective Nicholas Chiorello.
The investigation is both "active" and "continuing," according to the statement. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Chiorello at (732) 745-3848.
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.