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Impersonating a journalist

August 21, 2006

NEW YORK (AP) _ Ryan Leli loves the Mets.

The Suffolk County teenager loved the Mets so much that authorities say he posed as a reporter to get into Shea Stadium and talk with players.

Police arrested the 18-year-old Leli Friday night at Shea just before the start of the New York Mets-Colorado Rockies game and charged him with impersonating a journalist, the Queens District Attorney announced Saturday.

Prosecutors say Leli told New York Mets management that he worked for NBC Universal and showed a fake NBC employee identification card so he could get press credentials.

Leli first used the press pass to attend an Aug. 10 game between the Mets and the San Diego Padres. Authorities said Leli used the pass to approach and chat with players including Mike Piazza before and after that game.

Leli used the fake NBC identification again Friday to get another press pass for the Mets-Rockies game.

Mets management apparently became suspicious and contacted authorities.

Leli was also charged with criminal possession of a forged instrument, falsifying business records, larceny, criminal possession of stolen property, criminal impersonation and criminal trespass.

He was arraigned Saturday in Queens Criminal Court and released on his own recognizance.

Leli was scheduled to return to court on Sept. 27. He faces up to seven years in prison if he’s convicted.

Leli’s attorney John Rapaway did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

AP-CS-08-19-06 1755EDT

There are times that I feel i could be charged with the same thing.

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