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Police impersonators made Hurricane Irene warnings

Police impersonators made Hurricane Irene warnings
Times Square in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in New York on August 28, 2011. UPI /Laura Cavanaugh | License Photo

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."

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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.

GALLERY: The aftermath of Hurricane Irene

"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.

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DiGianni and Fleshner were charged with misdemeanor criminal impersonation.

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