Charges: Weedsport man posing as officer steals rifle from hunters | Local News | Auburn, New York |

Citizen’s staff

A Weedsport man was charged with five felonies after authorities said he confronted a group of hunters and grabbed a rifle while posing as a law enforcement officer.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation said it was contacted on September 9 by a person who had been hunting squirrels with a group at the Howland Island Wildlife Management Area in Cayuga County a few days earlier when they were approached. a man who identified himself. as an undercover environmental conservation officer.

The hunter reported that the man had “reviewed” the group’s hunting licenses and firearms, noted their information, and proceeded to confiscate a .22 rifle before leaving the area.

The DEC said in a news release that the hunters were wary but complied and managed to take a brief video of the man questioning them.

People are also reading…

The DEC said the impersonator then emailed the group claiming the rifle was illegal.

Using the short video and the email address used to contact the hunters, an investigator was able to positively identify the subject as Zachary Harvey, 24, of Weedsport.

Officers located Harvey, took him into custody without incident and recovered the stolen firearm, the DEC said. Harvey was charged with two counts of criminal identity theft, two counts of grand theft and one count of criminal possession of stolen property, all felonies. He was booked into the Cayuga County Jail pending arraignment, and the DEC said the investigation is continuing.

The DEC reported that in 2021, 282 police officers and environmental conservation investigators statewide responded to 26,207 calls and worked on cases resulting in 11,562 tickets or arrests for violations ranging from deer poaching to dumping. solids, illegal mining, the black market pet trade, and excessive emissions violations.