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'Brazen daytime robbery': Two men steal $150,000 of jewellery while impersonating NYPD, prosecutors say

Men charged with number of counts including robbery and brandishing a firearm

Louise Hall
Tuesday 09 June 2020 19:47 BST
US police release footage of a beauty shop robbery turning into shootout

Two men robbed a jewellery store at gunpoint while dressed as police officers in New York on Saturday, prosecutors have said.

The men, 59-year-old Ismael Igartua from Queens and 59-year-old Jose Rodriguez from the Bronx, have been each charged on a number of different counts including one count of robbery and one count of brandishing a firearm, according to a statement from the US Attorney’s Office.

They entered the jewellery store on the Upper East Side of Manhattan on Saturday 6 June while dressed as and identifying themselves as NYPD officers, according to allegations in the complaint.

“As alleged, the defendants participated in a brazen daytime robbery, in which a victim was threatened at gunpoint and tied up,” US Attorney Geoffrey S Berman said in a statement.

The two allegedly asked for permission to enter the jewellery store and requested to examine the store owner’s properly permitted firearm, the complaint said.

"Igartua and Rodriguez asked for permission to enter the jewellery store and requested to examine the store owner’s properly permitted firearm, claiming that, due to the recent looting of commercial establishments in New York, firearms were at risk of being stolen", the complaint said.

After taking control of the firearm Mr Igartua and Mr Rodriguezn allegedly restrained and tied up the store owner while in possession of two firearms of their own, and stole around $150,000 worth of jewellery and the firearm.

“Posing as police officers to prey on a city business during an international pandemic, as alleged, is dangerous to civilians and law enforcement officers. Arrests like these highlight the indispensable work of our NYPD detectives, and federal partners, in ensuring justice for New Yorkers,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said.

The men were apprehended a short time later in a subway station several blocks from the jewellery store, according to the complaint.

The two New Yorkers were also charged on one count of robbery conspiracy, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

Mr Igartua and Mr Rodriguez were presented in Manhattan federal court before US Magistrate Judge Debra Freeman on Monday.

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