Suspended NJ police chief charged with trespassing, impersonating a cop
Authorities in Middlesex County say a suspended Perth Amboy police chief was arrested Tuesday for trespassing outside a convenience store, claiming he was a police officer.
Benjamin Ruiz, 54, of Perth Amboy, was charged with trespassing and impersonating a police officer, the Middlesex County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement Tuesday.
Ruiz was suspended in December 2014, after being accused of using public funds to buy parts for his motorcycle and authorizing a city mechanic to perform repairs on his personal vehicles, according to MyCentralJersey.com. Police allege that the mechanic who did the repairs was actually supposed to be working on police vehicles.
According to authorities, Ruiz was confronted by the owner and employees of the convenience store on Smith Street multiple times between Feb. 1 and May 18 of this year. When questioned, Ruiz maintained that he was a police officer, the prosecutor's office said.
The prosecutor's office said the suspended chief "was hiding outside the convenience store to watch an unidentified neighbor."
Last September, Ruiz lost a bid to have his indictment dismissed, MyCentralJersey.com reported. In addition to the charges related to alleged theft of public funds, the suspended chief was later charged with official misconduct and witness tampering after he allegedly tried to convince a city police sergeant to lie on his behalf, the report states.
Ruiz began working as a Perth Amboy police officer on May 23, 1988 and was appointed chief on Sept. 10, 2012.
According to the prosecutor's office, the investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to call the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office at 732-745-3300.
Toniann Antonelli is a social content producer for NJ 101.5. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.