LACEY TWP. — A township resident and volunteer with the Lanoka Harbor Emergency Medical Service is accused of transferring thousands of dollars from the squad's PayPal account into his own, according to an investigation by the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office.

Matthew Bender, 33, who is also a dispatcher for the Lacey Township Police Department, was charged Thursday with theft.

An investigation by the OCPO Economics Crime Squad revealed that Bender had access to the LHEMS PayPal account. Following a February grant awarded to the organization by Benevity, which facilitates grants on behalf of Macy's, the investigation found that $4,690 was transferred from the LHEMS PayPal into Bender's personal account.

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The prosecutor's office alleges that Bender misappropriated the funds for personal use, with numerous purchases made in small denominations at restaurants, pharmacies, and auto stores.

Bender was processed at the Berkeley Township Police Department and released pending a future court appearance.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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