An Island Heights police detective has been charged with lying to law enforcement authorities about the sale and theft of three handguns that he owned, according to the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.
Matthew Curtis, 47, of Little Egg Harbor Township, was charged on Monday with providing a false report to law enforcement authorities, contempt of a judicial or protective order, and being a particular person prohibited from possessing a weapon.
The charges stem from an investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Professional Standards Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Domestic Violence/Weapons Squad, and Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department.
The investigation revealed that Curtis was required to surrender any guns he owned or possessed to law enforcement, pursuant to a temporary restraining order issued against him on May 11, 2022.
On that date, Curtis surrendered several weapons to law enforcement. Two days later, he wrote and signed a letter stating that he had sold three handguns registered to him before the restraining order was issued, claiming he no longer owned those weapons.
However, a subsequent weapons trace by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives showed that Curtis remained the registered owner of the three handguns.
On December 11, 2022, Curtis filed a report with the Little Egg Harbor Police Department, alleging that three handguns were stolen from his unlocked personal vehicle in front of his home. One of those handguns he reported stolen was one of the weapons he said he had sold before the restraining order was issued.
That same weapon was later recovered from a suspect accused of car theft and eluding in Essex County, New Jersey.
Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer said in a statement that Curtis’s actions were “reprehensible” and “a betrayal of the public trust.”
“Curtis not only lied to law enforcement about the sale and theft of his weapons, but he also put the public at risk by allowing those weapons to fall into the wrong hands,” Billhimer said. “He will be held accountable for his conduct.”
Curtis was processed at the Little Egg Harbor Township Police Department and released on a summons pending a future court date.