Police arrested a Long Island man for impersonating a soldier – a ruse intended to get him special treatment like first-class upgrades on airlines, according to a published report.
A customs official busted Rock Diaz, 22, at John F. Kennedy International Airport late last week when he asked Diaz, who sported camouflage fatigues and a buzz cut, his rank and Diaz replied with a pay grade one level below the one indicated by his uniform, reports The New York Post.
Further investigation revealed the Freeport man had fake dog tags and wore a black POW patch on his arm – a place where a soldier who in fact had been a POW never would wear it. He also allegedly could not say where he was stationed.
The probe also found Diaz had a history of impersonating a soldier to get VIP treatment. He allegedly worked his uniform to make his way into the cockpit of a jetliner and pose for a picture behind the controls, reports the Post.
Diaz told the Post he did nothing wrong by wearing the uniform and never asked to be bumped up to first class. He blamed the incidental upgrade on a language barrier.
“The stewardess offered me a new seat and I asked why? They explained it to me and English and I did not understand,” the Spanish-speaking Diaz told the paper. “I moved where they told me to sit.”
Diaz was charged with second-degree impersonation. It wasn’t immediately clear if he had a lawyer.
American Airlines did not return the Post’s request for comment.