For most of September, police have been on the lookout for two men who were impersonating police officers to pull over drivers and rob them. And in August, in a seemingly unrelated case, the NYPD began searching for someone who was yodeling and making prank calls and death threats over their radio frequency. Today investigators announced that one arrest this weekend netted all of the suspects in both cases.
The September robbery spree included three more robberies that stretched into this weekend, in which the men came away with cash, a bike and a victim's Samsung Galaxy. After police responded to a robbery in Queens on Sunday, September 25th, officers found the white van that the suspects were allegedly using in all of their robberies, parked on 14th Street and 37th Avenue in Queens.
According to police, Officers Christina McDonald and Dwight Wander then saw a man who matched the description of one of the suspects walking into the 21st Street-Queensbridge F stop. After stopping the man, identified as 29-year-old Ricardo Torres of Harlem, Officers McDonald and Wander found him in possession of two radios that could transmit on police frequencies and a flashlight with the word "Police" inscribed on it.
After determining that Jay Peralta, a 20-year-old Corona resident, and Keven Remache, a 19-year-old resident of Washington Heights, were the other two suspects in the string of robberies, police searched Torres's apartment. There, they found 15 portable radios, 9 scanners, 9 hand-held microphones, 4 speakers, 2 roof antennas and 1 amplifier.
Police say that Torres is "a ham radio enthusiast" who had provided Peralta and Remache with two-way radios. Police also pegged Peralta as the man who, beginning in April of this year, made a string of unauthorized broadcasts on NYPD radio frequencies in which he falsely reported an officer being shot in the Bronx, threatened the life of a captain in the Midtown South Precinct, and yodeled.
All three men were hit with a litany of charges, including multiple counts of robbery and criminal impersonation. In addition, Peralta was charged with four counts of making terroristic threats, seven counts of reckless endangerment, seven counts of obstructing governmental administration, five counts of making false incident reports and two counts of aggravated harassment.