Fake U.S. marshal gets three years in prison for Wrigleyville stunt
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A serial faker who pretended to be a U.S. marshal and manhandled a Wrigleyville McDonald’s customer, only to have his convincing performance wind up on YouTube, was sentenced Wednesday to three years in federal prison.
Robert Rozycki, 39, of River Grove, has also been known to dress up like Chicago and Cook County police. But he’s no cop.
He wore an orange jumpsuit when he asked U.S. District Judge John Tharp Jr. for a chance to seek mental health treatment outside of prison. He told Tharp, “I know I can be a better person.”
“I’m not saying it because I’m wearing orange, and you’ve got your uniform on,” Rozycki told the black-robed judge.
Rozycki’s attorney, MiAngel Cody, tried to persuade the judge to give Rozycki five years of probation, the first year of which Rozycki would have spent seeking mental health treatment in community confinement. Phillip Wise, a retired assistant director in the Federal Bureau of Prisons, testified by phone that Rozycki suffers from Tourette’s syndrome, as well as anxiety and depression.
“There is no question that Mr. Rozycki needs, I think, mental health treatment,” Tharp later agreed.
But the judge said he wasn’t convinced that a community confinement sentence would effectively deal with a man who repeatedly impersonated law enforcement officers and faces a similar pending charge in Cook County. In November, Rozycki pleaded guilty to a federal charge of impersonating a U.S. marshal on March 3, 2013.
A bystander caught the incident in a 33-second video later posted to YouTube. Rozycki got in the face of a customer at a McDonald’s in Wrigleyville, shouting: “What’s your name? What’s your name? What’s your name? Get up! Get up right now! Stand up!”
Dressed in a deputy marshal’s shirt and what appeared to be a gun strapped to his leg, Rozycki handcuffed the customer behind his back and escorted him out of the restaurant. Police sources have said the customer was released after he was taken outside.
But the video prompted several online comments about police misconduct before Rozycki was revealed to be a fake.
Despite Rozycki’s apparent need for mental health treatment, the judge said Rozycki came across as “quite intelligent” Wednesday.
“I find his remarks to be perfectly appropriate and well thought out and quite logical,” Tharp said.
The judge said he would urge prison officials to conduct a “full and comprehensive” psychological evaluation of Rozycki so he could receive mental health treatment there. He also gave Rozycki a year of supervised release, which he said would also involve treatment.
When it was over, Rozycki stopped to thank the judge for the sentence.
“You will not regret this,” Rozycki said. “I promise you.”
Contributing: Frank Main, Kim Janssen