NEW YORK, Aug. 30 (UPI) -- New York police allege a man posing as a law enforcement official tried to get people to evacuate before Hurricane Irene so houses could later be burglarized.
Authorities said Daniel DiGianni, 46, a former city correction officer, and his girlfriend, Linda Fleshner, 28, were walking along Liberty Avenue on Staten Island between 3 and 4 p.m. Sunday, wearing fake badges around their necks and identifying themselves to residents as "corrections officers."
Authorities allege they informed residents they were in an evacuation zone and had to leave their homes.
Police said they believe DiGianni and Fleshner had burglary in mind.
"That's what we feel," an NYPD source told the Staten Island Advance. "They wanted to know who was evacuating [their homes] and who wasn't. So they were trying to take a tally of who was and who wasn't."
DiGianni's gold badge read "New York City Authority" and he was carrying handcuffs. Fleshner wore a silver corrections shield that had belonged to DiGianni.
DiGianni was hired as a city correction officer in 1995 but dismissed in 1997 due to unspecified charges against him, corrections department spokeswoman Sharman Stein said.
DiGianni and Fleshner were charged with misdemeanor criminal impersonation.