N.J. police officer convicted of shoplifting

An off-duty police officer in central New Jersey was convicted of shoplifting in a jury trial on June 14, according to a press release issued by the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s office. 

Darnell Esdaile, 46, a Freehold Borough police office, was arrested at Home Depot in Freehold Township on Nov. 11, 2010. He was detained by loss prevention officers after exiting the store with laminate flooring he had not paid for. The merchandise was valued at approximately $500.

Testimony at trial revealed that approximately an hour before his arrest.

Esdaile had been in the Freehold Township Home Depot and loaded eight boxes of laminate flooring on a flatbed cart, as well as a steam mop. Esdaile approached the cashier, advised her that he had already paid for the flooring and simply wanted to be charged for the mop.

When Esdaile failed to produce a receipt for his alleged purchase, the

cashier alerted store security. Esdaile ultimately set the steam mop aside and proceeded to another register where he paid for the eight boxes of laminate flooring with a credit card. 

The defendant left the store and loaded the purchased merchandise into his car. Then Esdaile proceeded back into the store with the same flatbed cart and reselected the same type of flooring in the same exact quantity. Additionally, he placed six pieces of quarter-round molding on the flatbed cart, along with the flooring. Esdaile then made his way to a register, where he dealt with another cashier and showed her a receipt for the earlier purchased flooring. At that time, Esdaile indicated to the cashier that he had already purchased the flooring, but had forgotten to purchase the quarter-round molding. He showed the cashier his receipt for the first batch of laminate flooring, purchased just minutes before, and requested to be rung up only for the molding.

Esdaile then attempted to leave the store with the unpaid flooring when he was stopped by Home Depot security. He was escorted by loss prevention officers and taken to an office within the store until officers from the Freehold Township police department arrived.

Esdaile was found guilty of shoplifting, a fourth degree crime. After the verdict, the defendant was ordered to immediately forfeit his position as a police officer with the Freehold Borough police department. He will be sentenced on Sept. 28, 2012.

In addition to forfeiture of employment, Esdaile faces a maximum potential

sentence of up to 18 months in state prison, along with various fines. He remains free on bail pending his September sentencing. Esdaile was sworn in as a Freehold Borough police officer on March 4, 1996. As a result of his arrest for the theft of the materials, he was suspended from his job, without pay, on Nov. 17, 2010. At that time his salary was $99,402.