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Photo via Shutterstock
Photo via Shutterstock

An NYPD officer is facing up to 25 years in prison after being indicted for a gunpoint robbery outside of a nightclub along the Ridgewood/Bushwick border while he was off-duty.

Anthony Delacruz, 34, was arraigned on a 14-count indictment on Wednesday, Jan. 24 before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun. Delacruz is charged with two counts of first-degree robbery; two counts of second-degree robbery; one count of third-degree robbery; two counts of second-degree assault; one count of third-degree assault; one count of second-degree menacing; two counts of third-degree falsely reporting an incident; two counts of distinctive number, form of number plates, trailers; and one count of petit larceny.

“This defendant’s alleged brazen and criminal behavior was in direct contradiction to the oath that he took to protect and serve,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez in a press release. “He then allegedly made a deplorable situation worse by falsely accusing multiple individuals of robbing him. We will now seek to hold him accountable.”

Gonzalez said that, according to the investigation, police responded to a 911 call for shots fired at approximately 3:30 a.m. near the El Mekkah Bar and Grill in the area of Wyckoff Avenue and Grove Street. The responding officers were allegedly told by Officer Delacruz — who did not initially identify himself as a police officer or state that he had fired his service weapon — that he was off duty and in his personal vehicle when he was surrounded by several individuals who stole his gold chain, Rolex watch and a gold ring before fleeing.

Delacruz claimed that he chased after the perpetrators and exchanged gunfire with them, firing his gun once and there were possibly two shots returned. At the scene, Delacruz allegedly pointed to a group of people who he said were involved in the robbery and all were taken into custody.

Video evidence taken from El Mekkah later proved that the men identified by Delacruz were visible in a different location from where the alleged robbery occurred, and were therefore not involved. Delacruz was taken to a hospital, where NYPD personnel determined that he was not forthcoming about the details and was not fit for duty because he was not in possession of his shield while armed.

Further investigation revealed that Delacruz was allegedly captured on video with an accomplice — whose identity is known but not disclosed by the District Attorney — confronting another man who was hiding behind a car. The video further shows Delacruz allegedly pointing his gun at the man.

The three men then go off camera, and when Delacruz and his accomplice return to view, the unidentified accomplice is carrying clothing and sneakers as they walk away, according to the investigation. The alleged victim later appears on camera dressed only in a T-shirt and boxer shorts, with no shoes.

The victim was allegedly pistol-whipped by Delacruz, and DNA recovered from the muzzle of his gun belongs to the victim. A shell casing recovered from the scene also matched the defendant’s gun, the investigation found.

Delacruz identified the pistol-whipped victim as one of the men who robbed him during the course of the investigation, and charges filed in connection with that alleged incident were later dismissed.

While the incident happened nearly two years ago, the press release from the District Attorney said Delacruz was suspended on Wednesday, Jan. 24, the day of his arrest.

In a statement to QNS, the NYPD confirmed that Delacruz has been suspended without pay, but did not provide further details about the officer’s status during the course of the investigation.

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