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Cops: Merrick man impersonated officials to get business

A Merrick man was arrested Thursday for impersonating both a fire marshal and a Hempstead police officer in an attempt to secure a contract for his fire restoration business, police said.

Christopher Charles, 54, of Alfred Road West, was pursuing a contract for his business from a Garden City resident whose home had gone up in flames Oct. 31, according to Garden City detectives and the Nassau arson bomb squad.

The day of the fire on Hamilton Place, police said Charles impersonated a fire marshal and went to a 7th Street apartment in Garden City where the victim was staying. He tried to get the victim to sign a contract that would give his business the work. The person later learned Charles was not a fire marshal and called police.

The next day, Charles identified himself as a Hempstead police officer to Garden City Police, whom he called to request assistance in stopping a vehicle that had pulled in front of the home where the fire occurred. Police said the car belonged to Charles' competitor, and he was trying to prevent them from being hired for the job.

According to records, Charles pleaded guilty to third degree assault, a misdemeanor, in October 2010. According to news reports, Charles was arrested in the beating of a 17-year-old who he thought had made a derogatory comment about his daughter.

Charles was arrested at his home by Garden City Police on Thursday and charged with first degree criminal impersonation.

On Friday, Nassau police said Charles surrendered to arson bomb detectives at the Third Precinct Station House in Williston Park. Nassau charged Charles with second degree criminal impersonation. He will be arraigned on Saturday at First District Court in Hempstead.

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