Plainfield patrolman charged with computer theft

A veteran Plainfield police officer has been charged with illegally running a license-plate number through a law enforcement database at the behest of a friend, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Friday.

Earlier this week Jerald Lee, 46, was charged via summons with second-degree computer theft. His first appearance in the case is scheduled for Wednesday, June 17.

A joint investigation by the Plainfield Police Division and the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit revealed that in April 2012, a friend requested that Lee check for personal identifying information associated with a license-plate number he provided to him, according to Special Prosecutions Unit Supervisor John Esmerado, who is prosecuting the case. Lee agreed, passing the information along to his friend in violation of state law, Esmerado said.

Second-degree criminal offenses commonly result in penalties of 5 to 10 years in state prison. If convicted, Lee, who has approximately 15 years of service with the Plainfield Police Division, also would be permanently barred from public employment in New Jersey.

These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.