NEW EGYPT, OCEAN COUNTY - On Thursday, June 21, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato, Plumsted Township Police Chief Earl Meroney and Plumsted Township Schools Superintendent Gerald North announced the arrest of Matthew Vanderbeek, 19, of Cream Ridge, NJ.
Vanderbeek was charged with 3rd degree Terroristic Threats with a Threat to Kill and 2nd degree Attempting to Possess a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose.
On Tuesday, June 26, Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato announced this additional charge of Terrorism against Vanderbeek after receiving written authorization from NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal.
Terrorism is a first degree offense punishable by 30 years to life in prison.
The Terrorism charge is in addition to the initial charges of 3rd degree Terroristic Threats with a Threat to Kill and 2nd degree Attempting to Possess a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose filed upon Vanderbeek’s arrest on 6/19/18.
On June 19, Ocean County Prosecutor’s Major Crimes Unit Det. Brant Uricks joined with Plumsted Township Police Det. Anthony Ringle to investigate an alleged threat made by a New Egypt High School student to shoot students and staff at the school’s graduation ceremony.
The investigation by the partnering detectives quickly identified Matthew Vanderbeek as the suspect who allegedly utilized social media to communicate his intention to shoot school students and staff.
A search warrant was approved and authorized to search Vanderbeek’s Hyacinth Court residence to check for weapons, additional evidence of the crime and to attempt to seize any communications made via phone or computer.
The search warrant and follow-up investigation verified the threats by Vanderbeek and found additionally that he was attempting to obtain a firearm.
He was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Ocean County Jail where he was lodged pending a detention hearing.
The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office wants to make it clear that there is no present threat to the Plumsted Township School system or the graduation ceremony.