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Fraud suspect taken back to NYC



Published: Fri, November 30, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



MERCER, Pa. -- A man wanted on charges of impersonating a firefighter in New York City left Mercer County Jail on Thursday with New York detectives who are taking him back to the city.

He's also charged there in the thefts of a credit card and camcorder.

Jerome J. Brandl, 34, of Akron, N.Y., had been in Mercer County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond after his arrest Oct. 30 on state Route 18 in Hermitage, where police found him driving a stolen 1999 Mercedes convertible.

New York City police charged Brandl with impersonating a firefighter to gain access to fire stations there, from which he is suspected of taking disaster relief funds. Police described him as a con man who has defrauded people across the country posing as a firefighter injured in the World Trade Center attack.

Inquiries: A Mercer County Jail spokesman said the jail had inquiries about Brandl from "Inside Edition," ABC and a Chicago TV station. An assistant district attorney in New York told a jail official here Brandl was second only to Osama bin Laden on that city's most wanted list, the jail spokesman said.

Wanted in Wisconsin: Brandl was wanted in Wisconsin in the theft of the car, but Wisconsin authorities agreed to give New York City authorities the first opportunity to prosecute him because of the greater number of charges filed there, a spokeswoman for the Mercer County District Attorney's Office said.

Brandl had waived extradition proceedings for both Wisconsin and New York. He also faces theft charges in Illinois and Tennessee.




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