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Margate firefighter, beach patrol champ convicted of shoplifting $7.98 from Wawa

Ashton Funk, acclaimed lifeguard racer, could lose both his jobs, on the Margate fire department and beach patrol.

Ashton Funk, a Margate City firefighter, lifeguard and champion beach patrol rower, could lose both his city positions after being convicted of shoplifting $7.98 from a local Wawa.

Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain said Tuesday that Funk, 34, of Northfield was arrested Sept. 10 on a complaint of shoplifting from the Margate WaWa.

Funk, for years a dominant oarsman in the South Jersey beach patrol competitions, was off-duty from his position as a firefighter and on the beach patrol at the time he was allegedly seen carrying away several items without paying, McClain said.

Because the case involved a public employee, the Atlantic County Prosecutor's Office took control of the investigation and prosecution from local authorities, the prosecutor said.

After a trial held before Municipal Court Judge H. Robert Switzer in Egg Harbor Township Court Municipal Court on December 15, 2015, Judge Switzer found Funk guilty of the shoplifting charge.

After the conviction  Atlantic County Assistant Prosecutor Cameshia Caldwell asked the court to order Funk to forfeit his public employment with both the Beach Patrol and Fire Department.

"Assistant Prosecutor Caldwell argued that a public employee or official—whether on-duty of not—is subject to the forfeiture of current employment if convicted of an offense involving dishonesty," the release said

Judge Switzer reserved his decision on the matter of forfeiture for a future date, the prosecutor said.

Margate Mayor Mike Becker said he was not familiar with the circumstances of the case and had no comment. Beach Patrol Chief Greg Smallwood was unavailable for comment Tuesday evening. Funk could not be reached for comment.