28 February 2009

Police: Traveler got on Miami plane using fake badge

Mark Rimkufski, 49, was charged with falsely impersonating a law enforcement officer. He could also face federal charges.




Carrying a ''Fisher Island Chief of Police'' badge and claiming he was a U.S. air marshal, Mark Rimkufski convinced Miami airline employees to allow him on a flight after the gate had closed, police said.

The ruse landed him in jail, Miami-Dade police said, when he was confronted -- by real air marshals on the plane.

Rimkufski, 49, was later charged with falsely impersonating a law enforcement officer. He was scheduled to appear in Miami-Dade court Thursday but did not because he was hospitalized for unspecified reasons. 

There is no Fisher Island police department.

Rimkufski, a former island resident who also goes by the name Harry Henry Rimm, also faces a federal charge of impersonating an air marshal. When arrested, he was carrying nearly $14,000 in cash and had plans to travel to Los Angeles, Hawaii and Dubai.

According to Miami-Dade Detective Javier Prellezo's arrest report, this is what happened:

On Wednesday night, Rimkufski was rushing to Miami International Airport to catch American Airlines Flight 299, bound for Los Angeles. But the gate had already closed and the plane was departing.

He flashed his Fisher Island badge to employees at the ticket counter, announcing he was an air marshal. Employees stopped the plane and allowed him to board.

But real air marshals inspected his badge and booted him from the plane. Why they did not detain him was unclear but the plane went on its way.

Then, Rimkufski went to the Admiral's Club bar and restaurant and began loudly complaining about not being allowed on the flight.

Miami-Dade airport police came and arrested him.

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