A Massapequa man was arrested after a struggle with an off-duty Nassau County police officer who saw him taking unauthorized photos of an 8-year-old girl at an a North Massapequa ice-cream parlor Thursday evening, police said.
The incident occurred at about 8 p.m. at Mad Topper on Hicksville Road, police said.
Richard Stacel, 44, of 74 Jerusalem Ave., was arrested and charged with endangering the welfare of a child and fourth-degree possession of a dangerous weapon after police found a stun gun in the center console of Stacel's car, police said. He was due to be arraigned Friday.
Police said the off-duty Seventh Precinct officer was inside the Mad Topper with his family when he witnessed Stacel taking photographs of the girl with his cellphone. Nassau police spokesman Kenneth Lack said Stacel was standing in "close proximity" with the girl, who was with her parents. Lack said the manner in which Stacel was taking pictures was clearly lewd. Lack did not elaborate.
To avoid a confrontation inside the store, the off-duty officer, who was not identified, waited until Stacel exited the store before approaching him and identifying himself as a police officer.
Meanwhile, the store owner called 911.
After being confronted, police said Stacel broke his phone and its memory card and struggled with the officer who tried to grab the phone away. Stacel then entered his car, police said, but the officer blocked him from closing the door.
Police said Stacel was "reaching near the center console," when other Seventh Precinct officers arrived and arrested him. Police later found the stun gun, which Lack said the suspect was apparently trying to use in order to get away. No one was injured.
Lack said police technicians are trying to recover images from the memory card.