An alert Port Authority Police officer identified an SUV idling in front of the La Guardia US Airways terminal yesterday morning as a police vehicle which was stolen half an hour earlier in the Bronx with a loaded weapon inside. Officer Mohammed Anwar Sadat noted the marked Chevy Tahoe at 8 am, and remembered it when a call came through on an emergency frequency reporting the theft of the car. The weapon, a loaded shotgun, was locked onto a rack in the vehicle and was not disturbed.
The car was stolen from HIghway Police Officer Nelson Robles, who left it running outside when he went into the Lydig Coffee Shop in the Bronx to buy breakfast, according to the News (the Times went with “a personal reason”).
Anibal Lugo, 48, of the Bronx, was found at a car rental counter at the airport with handcuffs, rubber gloves and paperwork which were apparently taken from the car. Luggage belonging to Lugo was found at the airport, but no tickets. Police aren’t sure why he drove to the airport. He told them it was a joyride. According to the News, he may be slightly cognitively impaired.
According to police, Lugo has a long history of relatively minor offenses, including theft of services, criminal trespass and filing a false instrument. The more serious charges he faces now are criminal possession of stolen property, grand larceny and impersonating a police officer.
Robles, a 15-year veteran, was suspended without pay, and his gun and badge were taken away.