Two suspects were charged Tuesday for attempting to rob a jewelry store June 6 on the Upper East Side in New York City.
USA Berman: The defendants’ alleged scheme – impersonating NYPD officers – took advantage of uncertain conditions in our community, preying on the fears of a small business owner and his trust in law enforcement
— US Attorney SDNY (@SDNYnews) June 8, 2020
Police say Ismael Igartua and Jose Rodriguez dressed as NYPD officers and identified themselves as police when entering the jewelry store, a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of New York read.
The men then told the owner of the store to show them his legally-owned firearm, citing the risk that a firearm could be stolen by protestors. (RELATED: NYPD Officer Who Violently Pushed Woman In Viral Video Charged With Assault)
After the store owner’s firearm was secured by the two men, he was restrained and tied up by the thieves, the statement said. Igartua and Rodriguez then took the store owner’s firearm and jewelry valued at over $150,000 dollars.
Igartua and Rodriguez were then apprehended by actual police officers at a subway station a few blocks away from the store. “It speaks highly of the work done by the NYPD’s 19th Precinct Detective Squad and the FBI-NYPD Joint Major Theft Task Force that the only jewelry these men will wind up with are metal bracelets,” said FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr in the statement.
U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in the statement that Igartua and Rodriguez took advantage of the recent riots and protests in New York City and used them to prey on a small business owner. “This alleged criminal conduct is intolerable, and thanks to the work of the NYPD and the FBI, the defendants face significant federal charges for their alleged crimes,” said Berman.
Igartua and Rodriguez are charged with robbery conspiracy, robbery, brandishing a firearm, and being felons in possession of a firearm. The maximum prison time for all of the charges combined counts to thirty years and life in prison.