July 31, 2014
Robert Rozycki can’t get enough of the cop world.
The guns, the uniform, the bulletproof vest, the cop car.
Only problem — he’s not a cop.
He’s just played one on the street.
Rozycki has gone to prison four times, twice for pretending to be a cop, another time for claiming to be a bomb and arson investigator with the Chicago Fire Department.
He’s got a pending criminal charge in Cook County court — again for allegedly posing as a cop.
And he’s suspected of playing a starring role in a frightening video on YouTube in which a man claiming to be a deputy U.S. marshal harasses and handcuffs a patron at a McDonald’s in Wrigleyville.
More than 11,000 people have watched the video, which was posted last March and prompted lots of comments about police misconduct — casting the U.S. Marshals Service in a negative light.
But federal authorities have now confirmed that the hot-tempered deputy was Rozycki after reviewing surveillance video and interviewing employees working that night, police sources said.
Sources said Rozycki was acting as a security guard at the time of the incident at the McDonald’s across the street from Wrigley Field.
“It would be inappropriate to comment on what we understand to be the subject of an ongoing government investigation,” said John DeCarrier, owner/operator of the restaurant. “I can confirm that this individual has no current association with my organization.”
Rozycki, 37, has not been charged in the McDonald’s incident, but he’s facing charges in Cook County Criminal Court for allegedly posing as a cop in 2011. Rozycki is charged with illegal possession of a firearm by a felon and impersonation of a police officer.
In that case, Chicago Police officers watched Rozycki get into a Ford Crown Victoria equipped with flashing lights at a gas station near Addison and Harlem on Sept. 28, 2011. He was wearing a jacket with a Cook County Sheriff’s Police logo, police said.
The officers decided to check whether Rozycki really was a law-enforcement officer.
They stopped his car and Rozycki allegedly admitted he was a security officer — and not a police officer. The officers found a bulletproof vest in the car, along with a police scanner and a security badge. Handcuffs and a baton were on a duty belt Rozycki was wearing and he told the officers there was a BB gun in the glove box, according to prosecutors.
In 2009, Rozycki was arrested by police officers investigating reports of fake cops on the roads in Lake County.
Rozycki was driving a Crown Victoria, equipped with flashing lights, with expired license plates registered to a Jeep.
In the car, which was stopped in Island Lake, the officers found a pellet gun, a bulletproof vest with Chicago Police and Fire Department patches, a police radio and scanner, a Maywood police sergeant’s badge and a regulation Chicago Police Department baseball cap. The officers also found lock cutters, pry bars and other tools used in burglaries.
A woman in the car told the officers that Rozycki said he was a bomb and arson investigator with the Chicago Fire Department. He later pleaded guilty to a single felony count of impersonating a firefighter and spent almost 10 months in prison, records show.
He also went to prison in 1998 for burglary and impersonating an officer; in 2000 for possession of a stolen vehicle; and in 2005 for theft and impersonating an officer.
Federal investigators suspect Rozycki was posing as a deputy marshal on March 3, 2013, when he handcuffed a customer having dinner in the Wrigleyville McDonald’s, police sources said.
The incident was captured in a 33-second video posted on You Tube. In the video, a man wearing a deputy marshal’s shirt — and armed with what appears to be a gun strapped to his leg — is standing over a young man at a table.
The uniformed man yells in the customer’s face: “What’s your name? What’s your name? What’s your name? Get up! Get up right now! Stand up!”
The customer is then handcuffed behind his back and escorted toward the front door while other customers watch.
Police sources said the handcuffed customer was released after he was taken outside the restaurant.
The person who posted the video gave this description of the incident: “I shot this video because there was NOTHING the man did to deserve this. He was talking to me and my friends, NOT the marshall [sic]. The marshall overheard the conversation and came over to the man because he was talking about the police. . . . I put this video up so people can see how the Marshall is using unnecessary force on a man who is exercising his right to free speech.”
An attorney representing Rozycki in his pending Cook County case did not return calls seeking comment. Rozycki could not be reached, either.