Two police officers are facing multiple charges relating to two separate vandalism incidents, Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni announced.
Asbury Park police officers Stephen Martinsen, 29, and Thomas Dowling, 26, of Asbury Park, are charged with two counts each of third-degree conspiracy, two counts each of third-degree possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose (knife), two counts each of fourth-degree unlawful possession of a weapon (knife), two counts each of fourth-degree criminal mischief.
Martinsen has been with the department since 2013, starting as a Special Law Enforcement Officer, Class I in May of 2013, becoming a Class II in May of 2014 and then becoming a full-time member of the force since July of 2017. Dowling has been a Class 2 officer since May of 2015.
The charges stem from two separate incidents of vandalism to two vehicles, one vehicle in Ocean Grove and another in Asbury Park sometime between 3 and 4 a.m. on or about Tuesday, Sept. 3. It is alleged that Martinsen and Dowling purposely damaged both vehicles, both owned by the same person. The vehicle owner had filed an administrative complaint against both officers several days before the vandalism incidents.
As a result of these charges, Martinsen has been suspended without pay and Dowling’s employment with the city of Asbury Park has been terminated.
“The Asbury Park Police Department would like to thank the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office for their professionalism and swift action regarding the matter surrounding these two officers,” Asbury Park Police Chief David Kelso said. “Their behavior is not acceptable and does not represent the level of professionalism, community focus or resident safety that we expect of our officers. We will not let the actions of these officers overshadow the great work and dedication by the men and women of this department.”
If convicted of third-degree charges, Martinsen and Dowling face up to 20 years in a NJ state prison. If convicted of fourth-degree charges, Martinsen and Dowling face 72 months in prison.
— Edited press release from the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office