They stood in her front hallway as she handed over the $500. He had come back, just as he had said he would. It was about 7 p.m. on February 23 and it was oddly warm at 54 degrees after the northeaster that New York City had experienced just a week earlier.
And Maria Samgina had become the victim of a crime, though perhaps not the crime she believed it to be.
Just four days before this, on Wednesday February 19 at around 8 p.m. a man had come to her apartment—where she also worked—in Brighton Beach. She thought he was a customer. Instead, he flashed a police badge and a firearm, and told her he was a police officer.
He also allegedly told her that if she paid him $500 a month, she would not have any troubles. She said she didn’t have the money on her and that’s when he had told her he would be back in a week.
The man was in fact, not a police officer; he was just pretending to be one. According to police, he was Mikhail Belik, a 32-year-old who lives just a 10-minute walk from Samgina’s apartment. Belik, who Samgina believes to be her fake cop, was arraigned on May 12, and pled guilty. Judge Joseph Gubbay set a $50, 000 bond and scheduled the next court date for July 7.
More than a month ago, a police officer pulled Belik over at the corner of 24th avenue and 86th street in Brooklyn, and arrested him. When the police officer conducted a check on his license and car, it appeared that Belik was driving the 2002 Cadillac Escalade without a valid license. The city’s motor vehicles department had suspended his license when he had not paid his car insurance.
It is not clear how the police connected him to the police impersonation case, but after his arrest, he was charged with robbery, burglary, unlawful imprisonment, and criminal impersonation of a police officer.
According to the police, Belik liked to play cops and robbers.
Belik found escorts and masseuses in the Brighton Beach area through back page advertisements, according to a police press release. Once he met up with them, he demanded money in return for not arresting them for unlicensed business practices, according to the press release.
On March 19th, according to the criminal complaint for the case, Belik went to Gulchekhra Wroblewski’s apartment, also in Brighton Beach. Belik allegedly showed her a police badge and told her he was a police officer, according to the complaint. He then handcuffed her and led Wroblewski throughout her own apartment, the complaint said. And, while she was still in handcuffs, he allegedly took $140 from the kitchen cabinet.
Three days later, he called Samgina and asked for $500 again, according to the complaint. She met him outside her apartment building and gave it to him.
Police released his image and a description of his alleged crimes on April 30, asking for people who may have been a victim of a crime by Belik to call in.
Belik has been charged with several counts, including robbery, burglary, larceny, criminal impersonation, and aggravated unlicensed