NYPD Officer Anthony Delacruz [center, tan coat] has been charged with robbery and assault. Delacruz, 34, was held on $100,000 bail at a Wednesday hearing where prosecutors said DNA from the robbery victim was found on the officer’s gun and the theft’s incriminating aftermath captured on surveillance video.
An NYPD officer fired his service revolver in a bizarre May 2016 hold-up where the victim was forced to surrender his clothes, cash and cell phone, the Brooklyn district attorney charged Wednesday.
Officer Anthony Delacruz stands accused of stealing a man’s cash, jewelry cellphone and clothes at gunpoint outside El Mekkah Bar and Grill in New York, around 3:30 a.m. on May 28, 2016.
Officer Delacruz in an attempt to cover up his crime, then accused four innocent people of robbing him at gunpoint in the middle of the night, authorities charged.
Delacruz, 34, was released on $100,000 bail after a Wednesday hearing where prosecutors said DNA from the robbery victim was found on the officer’s gun — and the theft’s incriminating aftermath captured on security video.
The officer was accused of pistol-whipping victim Justin Eilely during the robbery outside the El Mekkah Bar and Grill in Bushwick.
“This defendant’s alleged brazen and criminal behavior was in direct contradiction to the oath he took to protect and serve,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
“He then allegedly made a deplorable situation worse by falsely accusing multiple individuals of robbing him.”
Hi yet unidentified accomplice was caught on the video holding Eilely’s shoes and pants as the man stood nearby in a T-shirt, boxer shorts and socks.
Witnesses had earlier heard Delacruz demanding the man’s clothes, prosecutors alleged. And cops responded to the scene after a 911 call reporting shots fired.
The officer was charged with robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, menacing, falsely reporting an incident and petit larceny. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
According to authorities, Delacruz was off-duty and not carrying his departmental shield when he fired a shot during the course of the 3:38 a.m. robbery.
He was first discovered by police officers summoned to the nightclub when a 911 caller reported shots had been fired.
Delacruz told the officers that he had shot at a group of people who stole his gold chain, Rolex watch and gold ring, then fired two shots at him, prosecutors said.
The off-duty officer then pointed out a group of club goers, claiming they had contributed to the robbery.
All of them were taken into police custody, but surveillance footage later proved their innocence, prosecutors said.
Taken to an area hospital, Delacruz was questioned by police,who realized he had not been forthcoming about certain details, and had gone out with his service gun but not his shield, and decided to investigate.
The investigation uncovered video of Delacruz pointing his service weapon at a man hiding behind a car near the nightclub, then walking away with his victim and another accomplice.
Justin Eilely told investigators that Delacruz pistol-whipped and robbed him, prosecutors said. Eilely’s DNA was later found on the muzzle of Delacruz’ gun and one of its shell casing was found near the club, prosecutors said.
The video also shows the three men returning — the victim clad only in a t-shirt, boxer shorts and without shoes — and Delacruz’ accomplice carrying a bundle of clothes and sneakers, prosecutors said.
Delacruz later identified Eiley as one of his alleged robbers, but the bogus charges were soon dismissed.
Delacruz has been charged with 14 counts of robbery, assault, menacing and other charges, in Brooklyn Criminal Court on Wednesday, prosecutors said.
Delacruz was held on $100,000 bail.
The married father-of-two who is a lifelong resident of New York, was suspended by the NYPD and faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.