JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Jersey City police arrested a 59-year-old Filipino for carrying a loaded .40 caliber gun and for wearing what authorities described as a suspicious “police-style uniform” inside the Hudson Mall in Jersey City Tuesday morning.
Julio “Joe” Concepcion was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.
He was wearing a full-duty police belt, with a .40 caliber gun and two magazines in the pouch.
In an email to ABS-CBN News, New Jersey Press Secretary Jennifer Morrill said that Concepcion claimed that he is a retired federal law enforcement officer after providing an ID.
The Jersey Journal reported that Concepcion posted a $50,000 cash-or-bond bail.
The Area of the mall where Concepcion was arrested Tuesday is a favorite hangout of a number of Filipino seniors.
Totie Salud, an acquaintance of Concepcion, said, “Laging nakabaril nga siya, naka police uniform. Hindi ko alam na ganun palang kuwan. Siyempre nagulat ako dahil alam naming pulis siya dahil four years kilala ko siyang laging naka-uniporme.”
Morril said, officers came to the scene after receiving a call from an off-duty officer who reported the suspicious Filipino.
“There was a policeman in plain clothes dito, nagtataka kung bakit may armas itong si Joe. So he called for a back up. Dumating dito yung mga pulis,” Rick Borja, another acquaintance of Concepcion, said. “Tapos hinalungkat yung mga gamit niya sa kotse, they might be suspecting na may bomba, ganun, nag-ano ng robot — yung mga bombsquad.”
Morril said another gun was found in his car — a .38 caliber gun and two bullet proof vests.
Further investigation showed that Concepcion had been an employee of the Department of Defense from 1989 through 2003, but his role with the DOD is still not clear.
Concepcion also told officers he had additional weapons in his home, and two additional firearms were recovered during a subsequent search.
But a neighborhood witness who declined to be identified and who knew Concepcion claims that at least 30 more assorted rifles and hand guns were apparently recovered at his Boyd Court home in Jersey City.
The witness said, “Pagsilip ko, may mga plain clothes and uniform policeman. So nag observe ako, na notice ko na may nilalabas sila from bahay, which is a case ng short firearms and short fire arms.”
Morril also said “He was charged additionally on Wednesday evening with possession of an assault weapon and hollow point bullets and after failing to appear in court on the original charges.”
And when Concepcion failed to appear in court on Wednesday morning – a warrant of his arrest has been issued when he could not be located.
A few hours later after his no-show at the court, he was reportedly found and arrested for the second time at his home.
A judge ordered Concepcion be held without bail.
Original reporting on this story by The Jersey Journal.
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