Crime

Man impersonates a U.S. Marshal to get his gun back from police

A man has been arrested for allegedly pretending to be a U.S. Marshal when he walked into the Johnston City Police Department attempting to retrieve a gun they’d taken from him two years before.

Wayne A. O’Connor was charged with impersonating an officer and employee of the U.S. on Wednesday, according to records from the U.S. District Court in Southern Illinois. The warrant came after James Robertson, a deputy with the U.S. Marshals Service, issued a criminal complaint against O’Connor earlier that day.

In the complaint, Robertson wrote that on Oct. 11, O’Connor entered the Johnston City Police Department and presented a fake security officer’s badge and a belt buckle with a star on it, saying they were authentic from the U.S. Marshals Office.

O’Connor then demanded that police give him an Illinois Firearm Owner’s Identification (FOID) card and a .357 caliber Comanche III revolver. The gun had been taken from him on June 29, 2016, when Johnston City police arrested him for carrying it openly inside a local gas station.

In a statement following the 2016 arrest, O’Connor told police that he had authority to carry the gun as an employee of the Illinois State Police Drug Task Force. When asked who his supervisor was, O’Connor named Williamson County Sheriff Bennie Vick. Vick denied ever employing O’Connor and said O’Connor contacts him every once in a while asking to join the county auxiliary.

Robertson wrote in the criminal complaint that O’Connor also told Johnston City police he was a former U.S. Secret Service agent and had protected five presidents when they traveled through Southern Illinois.

On Wednesday, he was arrested in Marion, the court records said.

O’Connor’s preliminary hearing was set for Friday morning at the district courthouse in Benton.

Hana Muslic: 618-239-2626, @h_muslic
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