Sheriff’s deputies arrest duo for posing as fake bounty hunters in Astoria

Photo courtesy of the New York City Sheriff's office

Two people posing as bounty hunters out on a fake patrol in Astoria were arrested by deputies of the New York City Sheriff’s office on Wednesday, July 22.

Toting bullet proof vests that read, “Officer of the Court,” and “Fugitive Recovery Agent Warrant Division,” the two unlicensed bounty hunters, Arkeem Spencer and Devin Jonathan, were nabbed around 12:50 a.m. by deputies conducting a social distancing enforcement on Steinway Street in Astoria, the sheriff’s office said.

The arrest occurred in front of M.I.A. bar – located at 27-35 21st St. The bar recently lost its liquor license for not enforcing social distancing measures or following state guidelines related to COVID-19.

The commercial corridor in northwest Queens has come under fire this week for hosting large crowds of maskless patrons of local bars and restaurants.

In addition to the bullet proof vests, the two were allegedly caught carrying illegal weapons and law enforcement equipment including an air pistol, a baton, chemical agents and handcuffs, according to the sheriff’s office.

According to the authorities, the pair also committed a series of motor vehicle violations.

Jonathan and Spencer were charged with criminal impersonation, possession of a weapon and possession of burglary tools, according to the sheriff’s office. Spencer was further charged with operating an unlicensed vehicle.

But Spencer and Jonathan were not the only people allegedly impersonating city employees in a Astoria that week.

A few days later, on Friday, July 24, around 11 p.m., sheriff’s deputies caught a person using a fake Department of Transportation parking placard around 36-17 Ditmars Blvd, according to New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito.

Much like the arrest of the fake bounty hunters, sheriff’s deputies found Mario Miletic, the alleged impersonator, while out on social distancing enforcement patrol, according to the sheriff’s office.

Miletic was arrested for criminal impersonation of a city inspector and criminal possession of a forged instrument, the sheriff’s office said. He was later transported to the NYPD’s 114th Precinct for a prior larceny complaint.

Updated at 10:57 a.m., on Saturday, July 25, 2020

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