A police officer in Westchester attempted to deceive a gun shop owner to fraudulently purchase a firearm, despite being disciplined for an off-duty incident.
Sanjay Richards, an active duty member of the Yonkers Police Department, was arrested and charged with a pair of felonies after he allegedly attempted to fraudulently purchase a weapon at a gun shop in Mount Vernon.
Richards, 40, a five-year veteran of the department, surrendered at Yonkers Police Headquarters on Tuesday, Oct. 13 following an investigation by the department and Westchester County District Attorney’s Office.
Yonkers Det. Lt. Dean Politopoulos said that the joint investigation determined that on Wednesday, Sept. 30, Richards entered a gun shop in Mount Vernon and produced an unlawfully altered police identification card.
It is alleged that Richards concealed part of the card that displays a “NO FIREARMS” restriction in an attempt to deceive the gun shop employee to purchase a handgun.
Politopoulos said that Richards had been previously placed on modified duty due to an off-duty incident in another jurisdiction, and his authority to possess firearms had been revoked.
“Our Yonkers Police Department operates at a level of integrity and transparency that will not be diminished because of the reckless behavior of a particular officer,” Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano said. “No one is above the law.
“I commend the Department for moving swiftly in weeding out the actions of this officer. I continue to support the many fine men and women of the Yonkers Police Department who serve with respect and honor in their efforts in keeping our community safe.”
Richards, a Yonkers resident, was charged with felony counts of forgery and criminal possession of a forged instrument and later released. Richards has been suspended without pay from the Yonkers Police Department pending his termination.
“No person, regardless of position or title, is above the law, and this officer must now suffer the civil and legal consequences of his alleged behavior,” Yonkers Police Commissioner John Mueller said. “But let me be clear and emphasize that this arrest does not tarnish the Yonkers Police Department - it highlights the opposite: that we hold ourselves to the highest standards and believe in and practice accountability and transparency.
“That the public trust placed in us is well-founded, and our integrity strengthened,” Mueller continued. “And to the men and women of the Yonkers Police Department who work every day to keep our communities safe, know how proud I am of you and your efforts and that we will continue to work together for the betterment of Yonkers.”
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