He had a fake federal air marshal ID in one pocket, a Ruger .380-caliber pistol in the other and was driving around Long Island with ballistic body armor and a loaded AR-15 assault rifle. He also had an arsenal of weapons at his gated home.
But don’t worry folks, Mark Vicars wasn’t a threat to anyone, Nassau County officials insisted Friday.
The amount of firepower is comparable to what terror couple Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik had during the massacre they committed Wednesday in San Bernardino, Calif.
“At this time we don’t see any immediate threat to the public,” Nassau County Police Department spokesman Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun told reporters.
Seven illegal firearms, three high-capacity magazines and 8,300 rounds of ammunition were found in the 49-year-old’s SUV and Syosset home after an exhaustive search, police confirmed.
Yet cops don’t believe that Vicars was up to anything nefarious — except for masquerading as a federal agent.
“We don’t see any nexus to any terrorism at this time,” LeBrun said, adding that no anti-American literature or links to terrorism were found at his home.
Cops are currently reviewing Vicars computer and web traffic.
“The officers involved were a little shocked (by all the weapons), but they are professionals and did their job appropriately,” he said.
Even a woman who identified herself as Vicars’ mother shrugged off the massive arsenal.
“We do have guns,” the woman said outside a Glen Cove, L.I. home belonging to Vicars’ parents, admitting that she did not realize that her son had been arrested.
“I really don’t want to get into this. You’ve knocked me off my feet.”
Cops also recovered numerous vials of prescription insulin and steroids used to increase muscle growth. Vicars didn’t have prescriptions for the drugs.
Vicars’ illegal gun and drug collection was discovered after police received a tip that the personal trainer was posing as an air marshal.
Cops and federal authorities were following up on the tip and surveilling Vicars’ 2014 Dodge Durango — which was tricked out to look like an undercover emergency vehicle — about 7:40 a.m. Thursday when they pulled him over for a traffic violation on Jericho Turnpike near South Oyster Bay Road.
Vicars immediately activated his police flashing lights, pulled over and showed cops his fake badge, officials said.
Investigators found a pistol in Vicars’ back pocket, the AR-15 in the back seat as well as body armor and a tactical vest, officials said.
They also found more than 500 rounds of ammunition in the SUV, officials said. More than 90 of the bullets were in three high-capacity magazines for his AR-15.
Vicars was impersonating an Air Marshal, and came complete with a fake badge and car. When cops went to his house, a massive weapons hoard was found.
Five additional firearms were found in his home, a gated condo known as The Knolls, officials said.
Vicars said nothing as he pleaded not guilty on multiple weapons possession charges at Nassau County Criminal Court Friday afternoon, where he was ordered held on $300,000 bail.
His Legal Aid attorney Alexandria Morrell did not address the charges, but said that Vicars has lived on Long Island for more than 40 years and wasn’t a flight risk.
Investigators are trying to determine how Vicars had gotten all the unregistered weapons and the fake ID.
“It’s going to be a very lengthy investigation,” LeBrun said.
More importantly, investigators want to know what he planned to do with the weapons, a law enforcement source with knowledge of the case said.
“Right now it looks like he’s a wacky gun enthusiast and a police buff,” the source said. “Yet he was going around pretending to be a federal agent – that’s troubling.”
The arrest took place a day after Farook and his wife killed 14 people and wounded 21 others at the county Health Department at the Inland Regional Center. The couple was ultimately killed during a firefight with police a few hours later. Besides the firearms, several pipe bombs were found at their home, officials said.
Long Island residents want to know why someone like Vicars would need much firepower.
“What’s he doing with that kind of weapon?” said a neighbor of Vicars’ mother, who wished not to be named. “Where’d he get it? Where did he get the false identification?”
“I have no idea why people want those kinds of guns,” she said. “It’s a crazy world we live in.”