On May 1st, 2019 First Squad Detective Lance Zimmerman received a phone call from retired Nassau County Police Officer. The retired officer stated that he was contacted by someone who stated that his granddaughter had been arrested and that he needed to mail $7,000 in USC to an out of state address for bail money. The retired officer recognized this as a scam and was looking to report the incident.
Detective Zimmerman immediately reported the situation to Detective Sergeant Alan M. Otto. Since the fraudster was still in contact with the victim, after a quick conference with Detective Zimmerman and Detective Sergeant Otto it was determined that the best chance for apprehending the fraudster was to have the victim call the fraudster back, saying he could not mail the money but would be happy to hand it over in person. The scammer initially declined but called back shortly after to say that he could pick it up in just thirty minutes at a local Stop and Shop Store, located on Jerusalem Ave. Bellmore.
Detective Sergeant Otto then immediately organized all working First Squad Detectives, Detective Zimmerman, Detective James Healey, Detective Ryan O’Leary, Detective Nikolas Budimlic together the members devised a plan to apprehend the subject at Stop and Shop. Detective Healey volunteered to disguise himself as the elderly male victim, replete with disheveled appearance and walker.
Detective Sergeant Otto requested the assistance of First Precinct Plain Clothes Officers and in a matter of moments they had quickly all the NCPD members in various unmarked cars heading to Stop and Shop to surveil the location in the most covert manner possible as not to alert the perpetrator.
Once on scene the Police Officers were able to locate what appeared to be the subject’s vehicle, a green late model Honda Pilot parked in a remote part of the parking lot of Stop and Shop. They were not able to determine how many occupants the vehicle had because of its dark tinted windows. At this point Detective Healey parked his car, removed the walker from the trunk and slowly made his way across the parking lot. The perpetrator, noticing Detective Healey, believing him to be the elderly male he was trying to scam, pulled from his parking spot and drove alongside Detective Healey. Detective Healey and the perpetrator exchanged an envelope the perpetrator believed contained $7,000.
Immediately after exchanging the envelope with the perpetrator the plain clothes officers and Detective Sergeant Otto and Detectives O’Leary, Budimlic, Zimmerman and Healey moved in and placed the perpetrator under arrest.
Upon returning to the First Squad, Detective Zimmerman was able to secure a full written statement of Admission from the now Defendant.
The Long Island Shields are proud to name Detective Sergeant Otto, Detective Zimmerman, Detective Budimlic, and Detective O’Leary as our Police Officers of the Month for their stellar performance of duty and exemplary actions combined with flawless cooperation between department members far exceeded their normal duties and expectations. The investigation in regards to this case resulted in the arrest and apprehension of a felon who preys on our most vulnerable members of society. I congratulate these members of the First Squad, Nassau County Police Department.