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Thieves pose as officers in Bayside home robbery

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A Bayside woman was tied up inside her home last week in a brazen, daylight robbery by two people who posed as police officers, authorities said last week.

It was the first of two reported home invasion break-ins in the borough last week, with the second taking place last Thursday in Rego Park. Although the incidents were similar, with the thieves in both cases pretending to be police officers to gain entry to a home, a spokesman for the 111th Precinct said Monday there was no apparent connection.

Community Affairs Officer Anthony Lombardi of the Bayside-based 111th Precinct said residents should use caution when anyone unexpected comes to the door.

“Just showing a badge is not enough,” he said of people who attempt to use any kind of identification to get inside a home. “You don’t have to open the door.”

The Bayside robbery, which police said occurred at about 11 a.m. Oct. 15 in the vicinity of 46th Avenue and Bell Boulevard, left neighbors in the normally quiet area shaken. Lombardi said the investigation into the robbery was continuing this week.

“Of course, we’re worried about it,” said one neighbor who did not give her name. “Now whenever I leave, I lock all the doors.”

The home invasion robbery was particularly surprising because of where it took place: about five blocks from the busy intersection of Bell and Northern boulevards, near shops on the heavily traveled Bell Boulevard and one block from PS 31. The 111th Precinct is several blocks from where the robbery occurred.

The two thieves knocked on the door of the home and identified themselves as police officers, authorities said. Once inside, the robbers tied up the victim, 24, ransacking the home and eventually stealing jewelry before leaving, police said.

Lombardi said residents should be wary of people who come to the door of their homes claiming to be police officers, utility workers, or anyone else who flashes an ID card.

If someone claims to be a police officer, residents who are not sure can check with the 111th, said Lombardi, who noted that “it’s not that hard to get a fake badge.”

“There’s nothing wrong with calling the precinct and questioning why two officers would be in the area,” he said. “Always ask for picture ID.”

Another neighbor who did not give her name said the robbery was a wake-up call for people to be more careful.

“I think if I were shown a badge from a police officer, I probably would have opened up, too,” she said. “But I won’t make that mistake.”

In Rego Park last Thursday, three men and a woman wearing matching gray jumpsuits and police shields around their necks entered a home on 67th Avenue and handcuffed a man inside, police said. It was unclear if anything was stolen from the home, police said.

The would-be thieves left behind a 9mm handgun, a taser gun, a pair of handcuffs and a radio scanner, police said.

No arrests had been made in the Rego Park incident.

Reach reporter Kathianne Boniello by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

Posted 7:25 pm, October 10, 2011
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