Police arrested a 48-year-old man suspected of taking over a city-owned parking lot in Lower Manhattan when it was closed and charging drivers to park their cars. Brooklynite Steven Pappas is accused of breaking into the South Street parking facility on at least two weekend days in September, putting a sign outside, and asking motorists for $10 per day for a parking spot, according to the Post.
Pappas was charged with a felony count of third-degree burglary and a misdemeanor count of second-degree criminal impersonation, the Times reports. He could face up to seven years in prison if convicted. “Commandeering a city garage for a pay-to-park scam is one of the more brazen charged frauds we’ve seen,” said Rose Gill Hearn, commissioner of the Department of Investigation.
Officers were able to nab Pappas because of his past record. Though he fled when confronted by officers, the suspect left behind a soda can that contained his DNA — which was already on file because he is a registered sex offender now on parole after a five-year stint for first-degree sexual assault. He is also facing charges from a Sept. 13 arrest for illegally running a parking garage at a vacant construction site on Maiden Lane in Lower Manhattan, according to the Times.