NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Five men are set to face a judge Wednesday, accused of impersonating plainclothes Suffolk County police detectives in multiple home invasions on Long Island.
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota announced the men will be charged in a 29-count indictment with burglary, robbery, attempted robbery, conspiracy and criminal impersonation charges.
“During a one year period starting in March of 2014, the members of this crew donned business suits and wore gold fake police badges around their necks and identified themselves as detectives to the occupants of the targeted houses where the defendants had knowledge that either cash, valuables or both were present inside,” District Attorney Spota said.
The suspects — Michael Stevens, 31, of Valley Stream; Ramon Rodriguez, 31, of Ridgewood; Demetrius Williams, 27, of Wyandanch; Jonte Hatcher, 31, of Newburgh; and Mark Powers, 23, of Poughkeepsie — were arrested by Suffolk County police on March 26 while en route to commit another home invasion in Deer Park, the DA’s office said.
Spota said once inside a home, the men would brandish guns and restrain anyone who was in the home with zip ties or duct tape before ransacking the place.
“The perpetrators often told the victims that they were being restrained ‘for their protection,'” Spota said.
Spota said the investigation culminated with a wiretap and intercepted information from phone calls that led to the arrests.
The DA’s office said all five men have previous convictions against them, three of which have a violent criminal history.
Stevens was convicted of robbery in 2004. Rodriguez was convicted of robbery in 2008. Williams has six misdemeanor convictions. Hatcher was convicted in 2002 of attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance and a 2001 conviction of sale of a controlled substance. Powers was convicted in 2008 of attempted robbery.
The indictment alleges the men are behind a total of seven home invasions that took place over the last year in Wyandanch, North Babylon, Deer Park, Mastic, North Bay Shore and two in Bay Shore.
In most cases cash and jewelry were stolen, the DA’s office said.