A Brick Township man has been indicted on charges of theft, impersonating a police officer and drug possession after authorities say he stole money from three drivers who he pulled over in bogus traffic stops.
Michael Vence, 40, of Cedarbridge Avenue, is facing three counts each of theft and impersonating a police officer. One of the phone traffic stops occurred in Brick and two in Lakewood, according to the indictment. Vence took $4,600 from one driver, $670 from another, and $640 from the third. Two of the stops occurred over the summer and one occurred in October, according to the indictment.
In one of the incidents, Vence pulled alongside a vehicle stopped at a traffic light on Cedarbridge, allegedly displayed what appeared to be a law enforcement badge and stated he was a police officer, then ordered the driver to pull over, Brick police said at the time. Vence was then said to have ordered the driver out of the vehicle, at which point the victim exited the vehicle and was searched by Vence. Vence, Sgt. Larry Petrola said at the time, removed a quantity of cash from the driver’s clothing and told him to return to his vehicle before fleeing the area in an unknown direction.
Police had been investigating, specifically, whether Vence had targeted patrons of the Mansion nightclub in Brick.
The final count of the seven-count indictment alleges Vence was also found to be in possession of heroin Oct. 8 in Brick.
Vence faces 18 months in prison and a fine of $10,000 for each count of impersonating a law enforcement officer. Each third degree theft count carries a potential three-to-five year sentence.