A Port Jefferson insurance executive pleaded not guilty Wednesday to impersonating a federal agent and unlawful imprisonment but could face an additional charge of kidnapping for taking his lawman act too far, prosecutors said.
A lawyer for David Bradley, 39, said his client never pretended to be an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer during Sunday's incident, in which prosecutors say he "pulled over" 19-year-old Travis Melito of South Setauket, in Terryville using emergency lights on his SUV, identified himself as an ICE agent, handcuffed the terrified teen and took him to his home.
"It's your lucky day," Bradley told Melito, who was handcuffed on Bradley's couch before being driven back to his vehicle, prosecutors said. Bradley was wearing a bulletproof vest during the incident, displayed a badge and carried what appeared to be a gun, prosecutors said. The married father of two was also charged in connection with a May 4 incident in Port Jefferson Station, where he approached police at a crime scene, identified himself as a federal agent and offered his assistance, prosecutors said.
"We deny the allegations," said Bradley's attorney, Anthony LaPinta. "We seriously challenge the veracity of the complainant's version of the story." In the May 4 incident, LaPinta said, police "misidentified" his client as the perpetrator.
Bradley, was ordered held on $45,000 bail Wednesday at his arraignment in First District Court.
Prosecutors said the unlawful imprisonment charge against Bradley may be upgraded to kidnapping. Prosecutors said in court that others have come forward claiming they have seen him impersonate a federal agent on other occasions.
Bradley made statements about the lackluster performance of Suffolk police officers, providing a possible motive for his impersonations, prosecutors said. "I'm sick of all these bums . . . " Bradley said some time after Sunday's incident in reference to Melito, according to prosecutors. "Suffolk County PD is not doing their job."
Led by police from the Sixth Precinct Wednesday, Bradley was seen crying and told reporters "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," when asked whether he was repentant. "I didn't kidnap anyone," he later added.
Bradley is the chief executive of Clarion Associates, an insurer of musical instruments. The company president did not return calls for comment.
With Ellen Yan and John Valenti