Indiana man charged with impersonating officer in Edgar County

Indiana man charged with impersonating officer in Edgar County

PARIS — An Indiana man who authorities knew had possibly impersonated a law-enforcement official in the past was arrested Saturday after he showed up at the Edgar County Sheriff's Office wearing a badge and body armor and carrying a gun, handcuffs, and Mace, identified himself as an officer with the Department of Defense and requested help arresting some people in Paris.

A subsequent search of his vehicle, which had flashing lights, also turned up an unloaded semiautomatic rifle, several large loaded magazines for it, duct tape and zip ties.

Justin A. Hefner, 40, who listed an address in Terre Haute, was being held at the Edgar County Jail on $20,000 bond after being charged with impersonating a public officer, unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful possession of body armor.

Edgar County Sheriff Jeff Wood said that Hefner visited the sheriff's office at 9:51 a.m. Saturday and identified himself as an officer with the Department of Defense.

The dispatcher alerted two deputies, who came to the window. They saw that Hefner was wearing a holster with the butt of a pistol showing and a badge, partially covered by an American flag. He was also wearing body armor and had handcuffs and Mace.

Wood said Hefner told the deputies he was with the Department of Defense and needed help arresting some people in Paris.

A police report said the deputies, who knew that Hefner had allegedly possibly impersonated an officer in the past, convinced him they believed he was an officer. Wood said they then talked him into locking his pistol in the office's gun vault before entering the jail.

Once he was inside the locked portion of the jail, the deputies convinced Hefner to remove the body armor, which Wood said had half-inch steel plates. Below the body armor was a bulletproof vest, which the deputies also talked him into taking off. They also took his handcuffs and Mace.

Wood said after deputies asked the Paris Police Department to send officers to the jail to help, Hefner was taken into custody without incident.

Police then searched the white Hummer that Hefner had driven to the jail.

A report said officers recovered an unloaded AR-15 equipped with a quick magazine release, optics, a bipod and a bump stock. Nearby was a 100-round fully loaded drum magazine and several 30-round drum magazines.

Also inside the vehicle, which had a dash cam and flashing lights, were a second badge, duct tape and a package of zip ties, Wood said.

Wood said the sheriff's office notified both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI about the incident.

According to county court records, a judge had issued an order of protection against Hefner on Feb. 14 for allegedly stalking a 42-year-old Paris man. Hefner is due back in court on that case March 5.

Sections (2):News, Local