Security-job applicants nail a shady teacher

Cops arrest fake officer after students chase him from Manhattan 'school'

Thursday, August 24, 2006

When Brian Reid answered the help-wanted ad he read last week, he thought he'd be getting a job as a security guard at St. Vincent's Hospital in West Brighton. But the 20-year-old Pleasant Plains resident says he ended up scammed out of hundreds of dollars and tricked into taking a shoddy training class run by a man posing as a federal agent and a kung-fu master.

He wasn't the only one.

Yesterday morning, Reid and several of his classmates confronted the instructor, James Felix, 24, of Brooklyn, at the Lower West Side firing range where they had been taking classes for the past three days, grilling him about his credentials, and whether the company he worked for was legit, Reid said. After evading their questions, Felix ran out of the building and pulled a can of pepper spray on a pursuing student.

The student responded by punching the "kung fu master" square in the face, Reid said. Police arrested Felix yesterday, charging him with criminal impersonation, possessing a forged instrument -- a phony law enforcement shield, cops said -- and defrauding and menacing.

Felix told the class he was a federal agent, according to a police spokesman, when, in reality, he worked as a bail bondsman. He has been arrested before in Brooklyn and Manhattan, court records show, and faces more than 100 charges in connection with larceny, check-kiting, insurance fraud and stolen-property possession from earlier this year. Reid answered an employment ad in the Advance looking to hire armed and unarmed corporate security officers. "18 Yrs Old, No High School or GED Required... Must be available now!"