What we’re working on for the weekend of Oct. 19. Jenna Intersimone, @JIntersimone
EDISON – Five township police were indicted Friday by a grand jury on multiple charges including official misconduct, participating in a pattern of official misconduct, and theft, according to a statement from Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.
Sgt. Ioannis (John) Mpletsakis, 39, Patrolman Paul Pappas, 44, and Patrolman James Panagoulakos, 32, all of Edison; Patrolman Gregory Makras, 34, of Cranford, and Sgt. Brian Rossmeyer, 41, of Bedminister, were charged in an 11-count indictment with two counts of official misconduct in the second degree, participation in a pattern of official misconduct in the second degree, financial facilitation of criminal activity in the second degree, conspiracy to commit the crime of financial facilitation of criminal activity in the second degree, theft by unlawful taking in the second degree, and theft by deception in the second degree, the statement said.
In addition, Mpletsakis was charged with promoting organized street crime in the first degree, while Makras was charged with hindering prosecution in the third degree, uttering a forged document in the fourth degree, and fabricating physical evidence in the fourth degree, authorities said.
The indictment was handed up in New Brunswick following an investigation by the Edison Police Department’s – Internal Affairs Unit and the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office. The case was presented to the grand jury by Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Christine D’Elia.
These charges against the officers, announced earlier this year, came just as the department was working to rebuild its image tarnished by another group of sworn Edison officers convicted of criminal charges, including Michael Dotro, who is serving 20 years in state prison, for setting fire to the home of a superior officer.
The investigation determined that between Nov. 14, 2016, and May 7, 2018, the Edison Police Officers were getting paid for extra-duty jobs which they were not present for. These extra-duty, or “side jobs,” were in addition to the regular hours which they as members of the Edison Police Department were assigned to work, the statement said.
The officers, who volunteered to take these extra assignments, had full police responsibilities while assigned to the extra-duty jobs. These assignments included directing traffic for utility companies as well as providing security services for local businesses and residential communities.
“While the Edison Police Department has recently taken important steps to ensure that the extra-duty jobs are now assigned and completed in a legitimate fashion, this investigation is very much active and continuing,” Carey said in the statement.
Mpletsakis has been a member of the Edison Police Department for 16 years, Pappas for 14 years, Panagoulakos for 4 years, Makras for 7 years, and Rossmeyer has been with the department for 11 years.
The officers are scheduled to appear in Superior Court in New Brunswick on Dec. 6.
Separately, Pappas was indicted last month on official misconduct and computer theft charges as well as allegedly stalking his former girlfriend.
Mpletsakis and Rossmeyer were promoted to the rank of sergeant in December. Mpletsakis gained notoriety in July 2005 when he crashed his BMW into a box truck and fled the scene while nude.