NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man has been going around Queens telling people he is a police officer, and stealing items as he frisks them, police said Friday.
Police were searching Friday for the man and an accomplice in connection with six incidents in the Middle Village, Elmhurst, Woodside and Corona sections of Queens.
In each incident, the victims were walking down the street when they were stopped by the man claiming to be a cop. He searched the victims and took property, before fleeing with the alleged accomplice in a black Lincoln town car or dark van.
The robberies happened at the following times and locations:
• Around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 82nd Street and Furmanville Avenue. The victim was a 21-year-old man, and $80 in cash was taken;
• Around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 27 at St. James Avenue and 88th Street. The victim was a 40-year-old man, and his wallet containing miscellaneous papers and a debit card was taken;
• Around 12:50 a.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, at 39-66 65th St. The victim was a 39-year-old man and his wallet with $17 was taken;
• Around 4:45 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 14 at 102-26 45th Ave. The victim was a 37-year-old man, and his wallet containing miscellaneous papers, a debit card and a cellphone was taken;
• Around 12:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 26 in front of 49-07 103rd St. The victim was a 33-year-old man, and his wallet with $650 and debit and credit cards were taken;
• Around 5:30 a.m. Sunday, March 15 at 102nd Street and 45th Avenue. The victim was a 45-year-old man, and his wallet containing $480 and miscellaneous papers was taken.
As CBS2’s Weijia Jiang reported, the surveillance footage was captured in the most recent incident March 15, in Corona. People in the neighborhood talked about how they would react.
“The first thing I would do is ask for a badge. I’m not going to let anyone search me,” Juan Montoya said.
Others said they would probably comply.
“If someone says he’s a cop you’re going to obviously respect him,” David Estrada said.
The suspects have gotten away with cellphones, credit cards, and more than $1,000 in cash. Their only weapon was a simple, but effective lie.
The man claiming to be a police officer was described as a male Hispanic or white, in his 30s or 40s, with a heavy build. Police released a video of the suspect stopping to perform a search of a victim and stealing his property.
Anyone with information was asked to call the NYPD Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS, log onto the Crime Stoppers website, or text tips to 274637 (CRIMES) and enter TIP577.