College Pt. woman, kids kidnapped by fake cops

By Brian Lockhart

A College Point woman was kidnapped and her two children were held captive by three men claiming to be police officers Tuesday night, leading to a police chase through the streets of Manhattan and the safe recovery of all three victims, authorities said.

Police spokeswoman Carmen Melendez said Tuesday's incident occurred around 8:30 p.m. at 23-56 124th St. as three men impersonating police officers pushed their way into an unidentified woman's home.

Melendez said two of the suspects allegedly forced the mother into a car in search of an ATM machine, leaving the third man behind with her 2-, 3- and 5-year-old children.

The fleeing car was spotted by police in northern Manhattan, leading to a chase that resulted in the suspects' crashing near the 79th Street boat basin on the Upper West Side, where one jumped in the water in a desperate attempt to escape, Melendez said.

Both men in the car were arrested and the woman was recovered unharmed, Melendez said.

Police later discovered the third suspect had fled from College Point with the children toward the area of Jamaica Hospital, where they, too, were found unharmed near Jamaica Avenue and the Van Wyck Expressway, Melendez said. As of press time, the third suspect – a man in his 30s – was still at large.

Melendez identified one of the suspects arrested at the 79th Street boat basin as Edwin Nunez, 32, of 375 Hancock St., Brooklyn. She did not have the name of the second suspect.

Both were charged with robbery, burglary, kidnapping, reckless endangerment, grand larceny, unauthorized use of a vehicle, criminal possession of stolen property and a controlled substance and police impersonation.

Asked what residents should do to avoid being the victims of any type of impersonator, Police Officer Chris Cottingham said one obvious solution is to make use of a door's peephole to check out visitors.

“If you at all ever feel uncomfortable, then just do not open the door and call the police,” Cottingham said, noting police officers are trained to show their badges and identification.

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