MANASQUAN — The brother of Union County’s sheriff is facing criminal charges for the second time in as many years.

James Cryan, 51, was arrested June 9 after drunk-dialing 911 to report that he had left his credit card at a bar, police say.

In addition to two false-call charges, Cryan has been charged with fourth-degree impersonating a law enforcement officer because he told the cops who showed up to the scene that he was with the Alcoholic Beverage Control and tried to get them to issue violations against the Manasquan Beach House, police say.

Last year, Cryan was arrested after he threw a brick through the living-room window of his brother’s Union Township home. His brother is Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan, who is stepping down from the elected law enforcement post in order to run for a seat in the state Senate in November.

The criminal mischief charge against Cryan was dismissed last year.

This year, Cryan is facing more serious charges, which are being handled by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office. A pre-indictment hearing was scheduled before a Superior Court judge in Freehold Borough this week.

Cryan’s attorney, Michael Critchley Sr., called the June arrest the result of “a misunderstanding that will be easily resolved.” He declined to comment further on the charges.

Cryan’s brother said the charge stemming from the window-breaking incident was dismissed “after family discussion."

“This was an unfortunate family matter, but there was nothing unique with regard to how it was handled by the Union Township Police Department,” Sheriff Cryan said this month in a statement sent to New Jersey 101.5. “It was addressed with the same professionalism in which they handle every call and I hope you will understand that, like many families impacted in similar incidents, we view this as a private matter and will have no further comment.”

Manasquan police said James Cryan “appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the offense.”

The officers said he told them, “I’m with the ABC.”

After speaking with the police, he then called 911 again and requested to speak with the internal affairs officer after cops had informed him that the internal affairs officer was not on duty at 4 a.m.

Cryan, who now lives in Manasquan, was the owner of Cryan’s Beef and Ale House in South Orange, which closed in 2013 after 30 years in business. Months earlier, the bar had been busted on various violations as part of a crackdown on college bars.

In December 2012, the state Attorney General’s Office said officers in October had seen an 18-year-old woman stumble drunk out of the bar and fall into the path of an oncoming car. She was hospitalized after passing out and six underage patrons were charged. That same evening, officers charged a bartender with serving an underage busboy.

James Cryan is not the only sibling of Union County's sheriff to run into trouble with the law. In 2015, John Cryan was sentenced to a year in jail and permanently lost his driving privileges as a result of a 2013 hit-and-run involving an injury in Hunterdon County. A newspaper that year found that John Cryan had a history of drunk driving and auto accidents.

Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email


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