A man who allegedly posed as a policeman and abducted two teenage girls in Lindenhurst, New York, was arrested Thursday, according to law enforcement officials.
“Donald Cristiano Jr., 46, was charged with second-degree kidnapping, endangering the welfare of a child, first-degree criminal impersonation and luring a child, Suffolk County cops said,” the New York Post reported.
Authorities said the alleged kidnapping occurred on Wednesday afternoon.
As ABC 7 reported:
According to police, Cristiano stopped two girls, ages 14 and 16, as they walked along Herbert Avenue to the library. He identified himself as an officer and said he would give them a ride to the library and the teens got in his car.
Police said Cristiano then drove them to the library but told the 16-year-old to get out because he needed to speak with the younger girl. He then drove away with the 14-year-old girl to a nearby park and began touching her. She fought him off and ran to a nearby home and the homeowner called the police.
In a tweet Friday, the Suffolk County Police Department (SCPD) asked the public for help with additional information regarding the incident and also shared photos of Cristiano and the vehicle:
SCPD is seeking information about Donald Cristiano, Jr. who impersonated a police officer and abducted two teenage girls in Lindenhurst on Feb. 3. Detectives are asking anyone who saw or interacted with Cristiano on Feb. 3 to call 631-854-8152 pic.twitter.com/8fvWC6H9TH
— Suffolk County PD (@SCPDHq) February 5, 2021
Cristiano was reportedly arraigned Friday at the First District Court in Central Islip.
“That’s what makes me afraid, because we teach our kids, if they’re going to see police officers or firemen, to trust them. That’s why it’s so tough,” neighbor Michael Krzal told CBS2.
Authorities used surveillance to locate Cristiano’s vehicle and his son verified his description, the outlet said, adding that officers found him in a rooming house in Bay Shore.
“Cristiano has no known record in New York, but had been arrested for several crimes, including assault, in Florida. Police want to remind the public: If anyone tells you they are an undercover officer, ask for identification,” the CBS article concluded.