Suspects Posed as Cops; Make off with over $150K from Jewelry Store

Two suspects robbed a jewelry store of more than $150,000 in daytime theft during the weekend while imitating NYPD police amid protests from George Floyd raging in the city, federal prosecutors said.

Ismael Igartau from Queens and Jose Rodriguez from the Bronx, both 59 years old, flocked to a jewelry shop on 92nd Street around 1:30 PM. Saturday because shop owners believe they are policemen from the 19th Police Station. The suspects wore bulletproof vests and one had what appeared to be a detective badge, according to prosecutors.

The couple asked to see permission from the gun shop owner, claiming firearms in city shops risk being stolen for looting in the city, prosecutors said. They pulled out weapons and zipped their owners’ wrists with zippers, a federal complaint said. They took jewelry worth between $150,000 and $165,000 and fled the store. But the shop owner called in the police, who arrested the two men at the nearest subway station. The couple was charged with conspiracy, robbery and firearms, the US Attorney for the Southern District said in the Monday release.

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“The alleged scheme of the defendant – imitating NYPD officers and asking to inspect the victim’s firearms due to the recent looting incident – took advantage of the uncertain conditions in our community, preying on the concerns of small business owners and his trust in law enforcement,” US lawyer Geoffrey Berman said in a statement. “These criminal charges cannot be tolerated, and thanks to the work of the NYPD and the FBI, the defendants face significant federal accusations…”  Press Insider Daily

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