An NYPD lieutenant has been disciplined after he let a man allegedly posing as a police officer drive a patrol car, the police department says.
The investigation into the lieutenant at the 52nd Precinct began after the December arrest of Thomas Georgevitch, a Bronx man who allegedly pretended to be a cop and had a cache of imitation guns, ammo and badges in an apartment he rented one block from the precinct station in Norwood, according to authorities.
Georgevitch rented a room inside a Bronx apartment on Moshulu Parkway, and the tenant who rented it to him told police he took Georgevitch at his word when he told him he was a cop and that he was "doing police work," the complaint stated.
Georgevitch would leave the apartment wearing a bulletproof vest, a holster with a firearm, a police transmitter radio and handcuffs, according to the complaint.
When authorities executed a search warrant at the apartment, they found a safe inside his bedroom closet that contained guns, six police-style shields and 13 government ID cards bearing his name.
The Daily News first reported that Georgevitch was able to get access to the precinct near his apartment. Detectives looked into claims that he was behind the wheel of a department patrol car at least twice. On one of those occasions, the lieutenant may have been in the car, the News reported.
A spokesman for the department confirmed that the lieutenant had been disciplined for allowing an unauthorized police ride-along in a department vehicle.
Other officers at the precinct blew the whistle on Georgevitch because they thought he was getting special privileges and they became concerned about the safety of the public, attorney Eric Sanders told NBC 4 New York. Sanders said that some cops in the precinct thought the 40-year-old was a plainclothes officer and started reaching out to Sanders for advice.
"They have a guy that's driving around -- he was arrested for criminal impersonation -- and he was actually out on patrol driving a police car, and also in the recorder's seat while the lieutenant was in the car," he said.
"Only police officers are supposed to drive marked RMPs and police vehicles, not civilians," added Sanders, who also worked as an NYPD officer for more than a decade.
"That's a big public hazard," he said.
Georgevitch was released on bond. Michael Nedick, Georgevitch's attorney, said he had no immediate comment.