Weedsport man posing as DEC officer steals rifle from group of hunters, claiming it was illegal

A Weedsport man is facing a series of charges after he confronted a group of hunters and stole a rifle while posing as police.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation said it was contacted on September 9 by a person who had been hunting squirrels with a group of people in Cayuga County.

A few days earlier they were approached by a person who identified himself as an undercover environmental conservation officer.

The hunter reported that the man verified the groups’ hunting licenses and firearms, noted various information, and then proceeded to seize a .22 rifle.

DEC officials said the hunters were wary but complied. They took a short video of the man who was interrogating them.

Those same DEC officials said the copycat, who was not affiliated with them, later sent the group an email claiming the rifle was illegal.

The person was eventually identified by DEC investigators as Zachary Harvey, 24, of Weedsport. He was taken into custody without incident.

The firearm was recovered.

Harvey has been charged with two counts of criminal identity theft, two counts of grand theft and one count of criminal possession of stolen property. All charges are felonies.

He was taken to the Cayuga County jail for his arraignment.