Police warn hunters after man impersonates DEC officer

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Hunting season is around the corner, and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is warning hunters to watch out for people pretending to be officers.

Police arrested 24-year-old Zackary Harvey last week after they say, he tricked a group of hunters into believing he was an officer and stole their guns.

Last week, DEC police out of Livingston County got a call from hunters who were out in the woods when they were approached by a man, who claimed he was with the department. The suspect told the hunters their legal guns were illegal in New York State and stole one of them.

“Checked all their hunting licenses like an officer would do, pretending to check serial numbers on firearms. He took one of the firearms he said, “This is illegal in New York State I’m going to take it,” DEC officer, Lt. Kevin Thomas told News110NBC’s Stephanie Duprey.

Harvey is behind bars in Cayuga County Jail after police say he was walking through the woods pretending to be a DEC officer.

“He was in civilian clothes, didn’t have a shield or anything did not have a gun on him but he was pretending to be an undercover police officer,” Thomas said.

Thomas says Harvey was not dressed in a uniform of any kind, he was wearing regular clothes, which is not uncommon for some undercover officers to wear.

“If we’re checking hunters we will be in uniform, but sometimes we are in plain clothes,” Thomas added.

When the hunters asked Harvey for identification, police say Harvey showed them something on his phone. Thomas says an officer would never do that. Make sure to ask for a shield-type badge.

“They will positively identify themselves with a shield, or some kind of insignia like that, and any type of enforcement like that would come with paperwork as well.”

They should possess paperwork, like a red evidence tag and a general receipt ticket that would be filled out in front of you.

It wasn’t clear what type of charges Harvey is facing. Police urge people to make sure they look for proper identification so that this situation could have ended much worse.