Top Point Pleasant, NJ detective pleads not guilty to shoplifting
👮♂️ The head of the Point Pleasant detective bureau is charged with shoplifting
👮♂️ He tried to walk out of a Walmart after scanning only one item at self-checkout, police said
👮♂️ His defense attorney entered a plea of not guilty last week
BRICK — The head of the Point Pleasant police detective bureau maintains his innocence after being accused of shoplifting at Walmart last month.
Detective Sgt. Joshua Gunnell, 41, is suspended with pay, reported NJ.com. He is charged with shoplifting more than $200 in groceries from the Walmart in Brick between Route 70 and Route 88, the Asbury Park Press reported.
Gunnell, the commander of the Point Police detective bureau, was arrested on June 25. Court documents said that he only scanned one item at self-checkout and tried to walk out with $212 worth of items before he was stopped by an employee, according to reports.
Francis Hodgson, Gunnell's defense attorney, entered a not-guilty plea on behalf of the officer at a court hearing on July 12, the Press reported. He told the paper that they "categorically deny" the accusations. Hodgson did not respond to a request for comment from New Jersey 101.5.
Gunnell's salary rose to $146,589 a year in 2023, according to state pension records.
Police Chief Adam Picca said in a statement to the Point Pleasant Patch that the allegation against the officer of 15 years was "very serious" and being handled within established policies.
The Ocean County Prosecutor's Office is handling the investigation.