Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer announced that on April 1, 2021, Connor White, 22, of Brick Township, was charged with Retaliation Against a Witness in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:28-5b, as well as three counts of Terroristic Threats in violation of N.J.S.A. 2C:12-3a, in connection with threats made against a Brick Township Police Detective on March 29, 2021. Identical charges were initially filed against Anthony Chieffo, 25, of Brick Township, and Alexander Santos, 22, also of Brick Township, on March 30, 2021.
On March 29, 2021, the Brick Township Police Detective reported receiving threatening phone calls and text messages on his police department-issued cellular phone; the threats were directed at the Detective and members of his family. A subsequent investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit and Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit revealed that the threatening calls and text messages had originated from Chieffo’s cell phone.
On March 30, 2021, Detectives from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit performed a motor vehicle stop in Brick Township on a vehicle being operated by Santos, in which Chieffo was a passenger. Santos and Chieffo were taken into custody and transported to Brick Township Police Headquarters, where they were criminally charged.
Although sufficient probable cause existed at the time of his arrest to support the filing of charges against Santos, continuing investigation in this matter has revealed that White – not Santos – was the second individual who participated in making the threats against the Brick Detective in concert with Chieffo. Consequently, White was taken into custody on April 1, 2021 and charged accordingly. He is presently lodged in the Ocean County Jail pending a detention hearing.
In light of the recent developments regarding this investigation, and in the interests of justice, the charges against Santos have been administratively dismissed at the request of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, and Santos has been released from the Ocean County Jail. Chieffo continues to remain in the Ocean County Jail awaiting his detention hearing.
“At the outset of this investigation, sufficient credible evidence pointed to Chieffo and Santos as the individuals that threatened the Detective,” Prosecutor Billhimer stated. “As the investigation progressed, however, we were able to identify White as the second actor who participated with Chieffo in making those threats. Additional information discovered during the investigation was exculpatory as it relates to Santos. As such, the charges against Santos have been dismissed and he has been released from the Ocean County Jail,” Prosecutor Billhimer concluded.
Prosecutor Billhimer continues to acknowledge the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Major Crime Unit, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office High Tech Crime Unit, and Brick Township Police Department for their cooperative efforts relative to this investigation.
The press and public are reminded that all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.