Nassau police said they are looking for two men who impersonated police officers to gain entry into an East Meadow house and rob a family of nearly $4,000 in cash.
The robbery occurred late Tuesday afternoon as an 81-year-old man raked leaves on the lawn of his family’s house on Little Whaleneck Road, a cul-de-sac dotted with single-family homes.
Although detectives are looking at the possibility that the Vietnamese family was targeted because they do not speak English, “it’s too early in the investigation to positively tell that,” said Nassau Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun at a Wednesday news conference.
One of the robbers, who police said dressed in a dark uniform, approached the man and escorted him to the back of the house where they met his 49-year-old son, according to LeBrun.
“Keep in mind that his uniform had no patches on it and no police insignia,” LeBrun said of the suspect.
The robber told the son, who police said spoke limited English, he was going to search the house and asked if there were drugs, weapons or money inside. Using a walkie-talkie, the robber summoned his accomplice, dressed in identical dark-colored shirt and pants, to enter, said LeBrun, the department’s chief spokesman.
Neither man displayed a weapon, police said.
After one of the robbers flashed a silver-colored badge, he ordered the father, his 73-year-old wife, son and 43-year-old daughter to remain in a basement bathroom until both men left, LeBrun said.
The suspects did not identify themselves as police officers, LeBrun said, but because of the shields and the uniforms, the family believed the robbers were law enforcement and immediately complied.
Thirty minutes later, the four family members emerged from the bathroom to discover that the robbers had stolen about $3,000 from the father’s bedroom and $850 from his son’s wallet, LeBrun said.
None of the family members were injured, police said.
Police described both suspects as in their 40s with one 5-foot-8-inches tall and the other 5-foot-11 inches tall. Both men have short, black hair, police said.
Anyone with information regarding the crime or who may have been victims of similar robberies should call 800-244-TIPS. All information will be kept confidential.
If residents are not certain a person showing up at their home is a police officer, LeBrun said they should request to see the individual’s picture identification and shield.
Uncertain residents can also call 911 and the operator will either verbally confirm that a patrol car was dispatched to the residence or send a second to the house. Police also advised residents to comply but pay attention to the person’s clothes, what the individual says, and how the person left, such as by car or on foot.
With Gary Dymski