MAYS LANDING — An Atlantic County Superior Court judge denied an ex-Margate City firefighter’s appeal to overturn the forfeiture of his public employment after his conviction for shoplifting last year, Acting Atlantic County Prosecutor Diane Ruberton announced.
On September 10, 2015, Ashton G. Funk, 34, of Rick Lane in Northfield, NJ, was charged and arrested on a summons complaint for shoplifting from the Wawa Store in Margate, NJ. The State alleged that, on August 17, 2015, Funk carried away several items from the Wawa Store without paying. The value of the merchandise was $7.98.
Funk was not on-duty but was employed as a Margate City firefighter or a beach patrol employee at the time of the offense.
Because the case involved a public employee, the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office superseded local authorities in the investigation and the prosecution of the matter.
After a trial held before Municipal Court Judge H. Robert Switzer in Egg Harbor Township Court Municipal Court on December 15, 2015, Judge Switzer found Funk guilty of the shoplifting charge.
The State made application to the court—upon the finding of guilt—for the forfeiture of Funk’s public employment with the Margate City Fire Department and with the Margate City Beach Patrol, arguing that a public employee or official—whether on-duty of not— was subject to the forfeiture of current employment if convicted of an offense involving dishonesty.
On January 8, 2016, Egg Harbor Township Municipal Court Judge H. Robert Switzer ordered that Funk must forfeit his current employment as a firefighter and lifeguard for the City of Margate, as a result of his conviction for an offense of dishonesty. Funk appealed the decision to Superior Court.
Yesterday, December 14, 2016, Atlantic County Superior Court Judge Bernard E. DeLury Jr. found that Funk “is hereby found guilty of shoplifting on de novo appeal,” and that “At all relevant times, the defendant was employed by Margate City as a firefighter and a member of the beach patrol,” and that “the defendant now having been convicted of an offense involving dishonesty,” he “ordered that defendant shall immediately forfeit his positions of employment with Margate City.”
Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office Assistant Prosecutors Cameshia Caldwell and Courtney Cittadini represented the State in the matter.
Anyone with information involving serious crimes is asked to call the Atlantic County Prosecutor’s Office at 609-909-7800 or go to the Prosecutor’s Office Web site at http://www.acpo.org/tips.html and provide information by filling out the form anonymously on the Submit a Tip page. People can also call Crime Stoppers at 609- 652-1234 or 1-800-658-8477 (TIPS) or visit the Crime Stoppers Website at http://www.crimestoppersatlantic.com/. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards for information leading to the arrest and indictment of those who commit crimes in Atlantic County.