TOMS RIVER— There’s a new sheriff in town. Toms River Police Chief Michael Mastronardy defeated democrat George “Bob” Armstrong Tuesday in the race for Ocean County Sheriff. Mastronardy has been the chief of the Toms River Police Department since 1992.
Mastronardy was nominated in March by the Ocean County Republicans to run for sheriff after the seat remained vacant since the death of 84-year-old Sheriff William Polhemus in December shortly after his reelection.
With just two hours left for voters to cast their ballots, Mastronardy was with township police officers at the scene of an alleged armed bank robbery at the Chase Bank on Highland Parkway.
At the scene, Mastronardy emailed information to members of the media, reporting the robbery by a white male 5' 8”, 165 pounds, wearing blue jeans, a blue baseball cap, glasses, sneakers, black gloves, a blue shirt with a white stripe under the left arm and armed with a black handgun.
After the man received an undisclosed amount of cash, he fled the bank north on Highland Parkway towards Main Street, Mastronardy wrote in an email.
With just 45 minutes until the polls closed to voters, Mastronardy was still updating info on the armed bank robbery, in addition to releasing details of a single vehicle accident Tuesday morning.
Just before 9 p.m., he had shed his police garb and was accepting the results of his win as the new Ocean County sheriff at the Holiday Inn on Route 37 in Toms River.
In September, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Policemen’s Benevolent Association Local 379 endorsed the 39-year law enforcement veteran over his challenger, retired federal law enforcement Armstrong, of Toms River. A group of sheriff’s officers attended the victory party Tuesday evening as Mastronardy was named the new sheriff.