A Union County grand jury has returned a three-count indictment against a Union County Police Department officer charged with orchestrating a scheme to illegally pay heavily reduced prices for items purchased from department stores in four different towns on various dates earlier this year, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Monday.
Blake Clay, 33, of Rahway is charged with theft, theft by deception, and official misconduct, all third-degree crimes.
An investigation by the Prosecutor’s Office’s Special Prosecutions Unit revealed that Clay allegedly visited Walmart and Target department stores in Clark, Edison, Linden, and Woodbridge multiple times from early February through late April and used counterfeit barcodes to significantly lower the prices of various items when they would be rung up at the register. This meant that on more than 10 occasions, he allegedly paid amounts of $1.50 to $4.50 for items actually ranging in price from $15.99 to $39.99.
The total value of the alleged theft amounted to approximately $650. Clay was served the charges via summons in May, and he was suspended without pay pending the adjudication of the case.
Convictions on third-degree criminal charges are commonly punishable by 3 to 5 years in state prison.
These criminal charges are mere accusations. Each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.