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Sea Bright Police Officer Arrested for Stalking, Threatening Former Girlfriend

By metrostaff on
Sea bright

By: Yuritza Arroyo

Monmouth County authorities announced a Sea Bright Police Officer has been arrested and charged with a series of crimes recently committed against an ex-girlfriend.

According to officials, Erich A. Bennett, 46, a resident of Sea Bright, is charged with second-degree Pattern of Official Misconduct, two counts of second-degree Official Misconduct, two counts of third-degree Computer Theft, third-degree Criminal Mischief, third-degree Making Terroristic Threats, fourth-degree Cyber Harassment, fourth-degree Hindering Apprehension, fourth-degree Identity Theft, and fourth-degree Stalking.

Officials say Bennett and the victim, an adult female, were in a brief dating relationship that the victim ended in late November 2022.

On Monday, December 5, Bennett showed up unannounced at the woman’s residence. He threatened her with physical harm, prompting her to block him from contacting her electronically and to install security cameras on the exterior of her home.  

According to the Police, on Sunday, January 8, the victim began receiving harassing and threatening messages via social media from an online persona, which the investigation connected to Bennett.   

Police say the following weekend, on Saturday, January 14, as she was leaving her home, the victim noticed that all four tires on her vehicle had been slashed.  

She further noticed over the weekend that the side of her vehicle had been keyed, a flagpole had been torn off the front of her house, and her Ring doorbell camera and two additional security cameras had been removed from her residence. 

According to authorities, the investigation placed Bennett in the area of the victim’s residence at the suspected time of the vandalism. 

Authorities say the investigation further revealed that from October 2022 through January, Bennett had accessed law-enforcement databases on more than 30 occasions for non-law-enforcement purposes, specifically to access the personal identifying information of the victim and multiple individuals with whom she is associated.  

Bennett was arrested without incident on Wednesday, January 25, and lodged in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution (MCCI) pending a detention hearing to take place in Monmouth County Superior Court.  

According to officials, Bennett is currently suspended without pay from his job as a Sea Bright Police Officer.

“The facts of this case highlight a pattern of disturbing behavior,” Prosecutor Santiago said. “When a law-enforcement officer so egregiously harms a member of the public they are sworn to protect and serve, it necessitates a swift and diligent investigation and apprehension.”

“The Sea Bright Police Department, from the onset of the investigation, cooperated fully with the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and supported their actions,” Sea Bright Police Chief Brett M. Friedman added.

“We acknowledge that when incidents such as this occur, the trust bestowed to us by our residents and governing body may be called into question, but know that the Sea Bright Police Department is dedicated to providing the highest level of service to all we are called to serve.”