Governments' Lighter Side

Frank Abagnale you ain’t. Chicago teen busted for impersonating an officer. Twice.

A 19-year-old Chicago man was arrested for impersonating a police officer — for the second time.

Vincent Richardson was arrested July 23 in Chicago after visiting a police uniform store where he allegedly tried to buy items including a nylon utility belt, cargo pants and cargo shorts, according to an Associated Press report. Charged with impersonating a peace officer, a felony in Chicago, Richardson was released Thursday on a $25,000 bond, pending an Aug. 15 court date.

Impersonation of a police officer is a Class 4 Felony, punishable by up to 3 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000, according to Chicago attorney Michal P. Schmiege’s website.

Richardson told employees at the uniform store he was an officer assigned to the 7th District on the south side of the city, Assistant State’s Attorney Erin Antonitti told the AP. But before Richardson made his purchase, for unknown reasons, he left the store without the merchandise, leaving his ID behind.

CBS News CrimeSider reports the store clerk became suspicious when Richardson kept repeating he was an officer working in Englewood. That’s when the employee decided to “Google” Richardson’s name, according to the CBS report.

It turns out the incident wasn’t Richardson’s first attempt to impersonate an officer. In 2009, a 14-year-old Richardson walked into a station on Chicago’s South Side dressed in full police regalia, according to the AP. And if that doesn’t sound enough like the beginning of an 80s buddy-cop movie, Richardson was issued a radio, assigned a partner and hit the streets in a squad car, according to CBS.

All in all, the 14-year-old spent about five hours on patrol- two of which were driving the squad car- and even helping arrest a suspect, the AP reports. The wannabe cop was uncovered when a supervisor noticed he was not in complete uniform, and wasn’t carrying a gun, according an AP report at the time.

CBS reports Richardson allegedly told the officers arresting him last week, “I know what its like to be one of you. I respect you because I did it for a day chasing and helping people. My intentions are never to hurt people, just to help.”

In that case, it might have been easier to just sign up for the police academy.

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

on Feb 7, 2014

This is really sad news. The crime rate in our country is increasing day by day. Police force should be more alert to stop such incidents. I really enjoyed the quality information you offer to your visitors for this blog.

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What's Governments' Lighter Side?

It is an irreverent take on local and state government news.

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Derek Prall

Derek Prall is a professional journalist who has held numerous positions with a variety of print and online publications including The Public Manager magazine and the New Jersey Herald. He is a 2008...
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