Nassau County police officers acting on a tip found ballistic body armor, hundreds of rounds of ammunition and illegal firearms inside the SUV of a man they pulled over in Syosset Thursday morning, police said.
After the traffic stop, police raided the suspect’s home, where officials said they found several illegal weapons and more than 8,000 rounds of assorted ammunition.
Mark Vicars, who police said falsely identified himself as a federal air marshal during the traffic stop, was arrested and charged with numerous weapons crimes and for carrying identification impersonating law enforcement. The 49-year-old Syosset man, who lives at The Knoll, a condo and townhouse complex in Syosset, will be arraigned Friday at First District Court in Hempstead.
“It’s going to be a very lengthy investigation,” Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, NCPD’s chief spokesperson, said Friday at a press conference at police headquarters in Mineola.
The investigation also included members of the NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force and Transportation Security Administration, police said.
The weapons discovery was made after law enforcement received a tip, which police did not elaborate on. Police then initiated surveillance. Vicars was pulled over on Jericho Turnpike in Syosset at 7:40 a.m. for a traffic violation, police said.
That’s when Vicars allegedly activated emergency lights on his 2014 Dodge Durango and produced a fraudulent federal air marshal ID, LeBrun said.
Inside the car was a .380 pistol, gravity knife, a ballistic body vest and a tactical vest, LeBrun said. Nassau police’s Special Investigation Squad also found three high-capacity magazines each containing 30 rounds of ammunition, he said.
Investigators subsequently executed a search warrant on his home and uncovered a .357-caliber, .45-caliber, .40-caliber and two .9mm handguns. The search also turned up 8,300 rounds of ammo, LeBrun said. Vicars did not have a permit for any of the weapons, police said.
Investigators are trying to determine where the weapons were purchased and how Vicars obtained a fraudulent law enforcement ID, LeBrun said. Police did not say what he does for a living but there’s no indication he previously worked for law enforcement, LeBrun said.
LeBrun asked for the public to notify police if they’ve been approached by Vicars before under the guise of law enforcement. He also noted that the department does not see “any immediate threat to the public, and we don’t see any nexus to any other terrorism at this time.” But the potential of terror is still being investigated, LeBrun noted.
Vicars has no prior arrest record, police said.
He has been charged with varying degrees of criminal possession, as well as criminal possession of a forged instrument.