Shoplifting Cop Suspect on Christie Security Detail Charged in Theft

Tuesday, 04 Feb 2014 01:41 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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A New Jersey state trooper dropped Gov. Christ Christie's name in trying to get out of shoplifting charges in Pennsylvania, law enforcement told the Associated Press Monday.

New Jersey Trooper William Carvounis, 35, tried to leave a Cabela's sporting goods store with concealed items worth $268.38 on Jan. 8, according to a criminal complaint filed by officer Dennis Schwoyer of Tilden Township, Pa.

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Carvounis loaded his basket with several handgun grips, a pistol magazine and a hat, among other items, allegedly paying for some items and not for others.

The AP reported Schwoyer filed the charges after Carvounis asked several times to give him a pass.

"It was, more or less, 'Look, I've got a good job, I'm on the governor's security detail, I don't want to lose my job,' along those lines," Tilden Township Chief William McEllroy said.

Carvounis's attorney, Charles Sciarra, denied that his client asked for any special favors, according to the Star-Ledger. 

"There is nothing in the police reports or initial paperwork about my client attempting to obtain a courtesy or invoking his assignment within the state police," Sciarra said. "Further, he was not charged with such an offense in his State Police suspension paperwork. Trooper Carvounis denies the shoplifting allegations and looks forward to his day in court."

NewJerseyWatchDog.org reported that the state pays Carvounis an annual base salary of $95,198 as a trooper, plus $16,000 for meals, uniform cleaning and other allowances. Those totals don't include overtime pay, which is exempt from public disclosure.

The criminal complaint against Carvounis, per NewJerseyWatchDog.org, stated: "During the course of his shopping, (Carvounis) would place items in his shopping basket. While walking around and continuing to shop, he would take various merchandise out of the package and conceal in his pockets… He would discard the empty packages on shelves throughout the store."

Surveillance footage captured Carvounis ripping the price tag from a Cabela hat, which he wore while trying to leave the store.

Pennsylvania authorities charged Carvounis with retail theft exceeding $150, a first-class misdemeanor in Pennsylvania. The trooper could serve 90 days in jail and be fined $100 to $250 for the offense.

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