FREEHOLD, NJ – Investigators have charged a Keansburg man with calling in a false bomb threat to the Keansburg Police Department. The 29-year old man now faces a 10-year prison term and a civil fine that could total tens of thousands of dollars, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Joseph Matich, of Keansburg, is charged with second degree False Public Alarm. Matich was formally presented with the charge against him at his First Appearance on Sunday, May 27. A detention hearing is scheduled for Thursday, May 31 in Superior Court before Judge Paul X. Escandon.

The telephone threat was received by the Keansburg Police Department on Thursday May 24, alleging that a residence in the area of Center Street in Keansburg contained pipe bombs and a pressure cooker. The house and the surrounding area were blocked off and cleared by Keansburg Police Department. The New Jersey State Police Bomb Squad, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Federal Bureau of Investigations, K-9 Unit and Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office responded.  As a result of the investigation, it was determined that there were no bombs or explosive devices at the residence.

“These phony threats take an emotional toll on the law enforcement officials, first responders and the community. There is absolutely no place in today’s society for these types of incidents whatsoever.  These false bomb threats are not a game or joke and the people making these phony threats will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Gramiccioni.

A 2016 amendment to the bill, spearheaded by Gramiccioni with the assistance of former State Senator Jennifer Beck and other state legislators, increased the crime of False Public Alarm to a second degree offense if the alarm concerned the false report of an impending bombing. Matich also faces a civil penalty for the actual costs incurred by the law enforcement agencies responding to this incident, which will likely total in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.