Gang member turned Satmar Hasid sentenced to prison for impersonating cop


(JTA) — A former gang member who became a Hasidic Jew was sentenced to prison for impersonating a police officer.

Avroham Gross, formerly known as Roberto Eddy Santos of the Latin Kings gang, was sentenced Tuesday in Brooklyn state Supreme Court to 2 1/2 to 5 years in prison. The judge also denied a request by Gross, who identifies as a Satmar Hasid, to prevent the prison staff from shaving off his beard for religious reasons, the New York Daily News reported.

Gross was arrested last October for posing as a law enforcement officer, making traffic stops and even helping to arrest a woman he suspected of trying to break into a car. He also used forged documents to pretend to be part of a nonexistent “child abuse prevention task force.”

Gross studied about Judaism while imprisoned in the Sing Sing Correctional Facility for 10 years for multiple violent robberies. After his release in 2005, he was converted under the auspices of the Satmars and legally changed his name.

Justice Danny Chun said in court that Gross could apply directly to the prison in order to halt the shaving of his beard.

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