Armed Man Arrested After Impersonating Police Officer to Get Into Woodmere Synagogue

Nassau County police are reporting the arrest of a 29 year-old Far Rockaway man who allegedly impersonated a police officer during Saturday morning services at the Young Israel of Woodmere on Peninsula Boulevard, which has the largest Orthodox Jewish congregation in the nation.
Young Israel of Woodmere. (Cindy Springsteen, Patch Poster)
The Far Rockaway man was arraigned on Monday in the First District Court in Hempstead and charged with criminal impersonation.

The suspect was spotted by a security guard at the synagogue during Shabbat services when he parked in a restricted parking area at approximately 11 a.m.

The suspect identified himself as a local police officer and was dressed in blue uniform, complete with handcuffs and pepper spray attached to a police belt, according to detectives.

Police say he was wearing a blue baseball cap that said NYPD and POLICE on the side and allegedly showed the security guard a police detective badge when questioned about why he wanted to gain access to the synagogue. Additional court records also indicate that he had two knives on his person as well as claimed to have a firearm in his car.

The security guard’s suspicions were raised because the suspect presented a detective badge but was dressed as a uniformed officer with a NYPD baseball cap. The suspect was asked a second time to show a police ID card with his name on. The suspect then proceeded to turn around, got into his car and fled the scene. After checking security cameras and additional investigations, Nassau County police were able to identify the suspect and arrested him at his Far Rockaway apartment on Sunday afternoon.

Young Israel of Woodmere Statement

A statement released by Young Israel of Woodmere read: “We want to inform you of a situation that took place this past Shabbos.  A person came to our shul building impersonating a police officer. Our YIW CSS security team, who are trained to be on the alert at all times, questioned this individual and the Police Dept. was contacted.We were informed that this person was arrested yesterday. You may read in the paper or hear on the news about this incident and we wanted to alert you about this. As always, safety and security are our priorities. We want to assure you that we take all precautions possible in safeguarding our shul and members.”