EAST MEADOW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Investigators are trying to find two men who they said posed as police officers and stole thousands of dollars in cash from a family on Long Island.
It happened around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday at a home on Little Whaleneck Road in East Meadow.
Jin Nyguen, who speaks little English, was raking leaves in front of his house when police said a man in a black uniform-type shirt and black pants walked up to the home.
The 81-year-old Nyguen went with the suspect into the house, where they were met by his 49-year-old son, police said. The uniformed man told the son that he was there to search the house and asked if there were any weapons or drugs inside.
“They just used that as an excuse to come to the house,” the son, who did not want to show his face, told CBS2’s Magdalena Doris.
That’s when police said the suspect spoke into a radio and told a second suspect, dressed in the same uniform, to come into the house.
After displaying what appeared to be a badge, the son was told to bring the entire family, including his 73-year-old mother and 43-year-old sister, into a downstairs bathroom and stay there while they searched the house, police said.
“They told us to stand facing the wall,” the son said. “We were scared. It’s the first time, you know, so we just obeyed what he said.”
The family waited for 30 minutes and when they came out of the bathroom, the men were gone. Police said $850 was missing from the son’s wallet and another $3,000 was missing from his father’s room.
The family was left stunned. When asked if there were any doubts in his mind, the son said, “In the beginning no, but afterwards it became a robbery.”
The incident has neighbors shaken up.
“We have to be afraid of clowns, now police officers,” said neighbor Linda Abatangelo.
“It’s scary, you know, he’s a nice guy. He’s always out landscaping, so it’s frightening,” neighbor Danielle Brand told WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “They know that he didn’t speak English and was targeted, which is unfortunate.”
Both suspects were described as white men in their 40s with short dark or black hair. Police said if you aren’t sure if someone is a legitimate officer, ask for ID and always call 911.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.