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Published: 2/7/2004

Fake officer pulls over wrong guy

BY DAVID PATCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Nicholas C. Douglas, 22. Nicholas C. Douglas, 22.
HO Enlarge

A Toledo man appears to have forgotten an unwritten rule for wanna-be police officers: Don t pull over any real cops.

And according to Perrysburg Municipal Court records, Nicholas C. Douglas, 22, of 2442 Lawrence Ave. was still on probation for a previous impersonation conviction when he stopped and detained an off-duty Northwood police officer at the Woodville Mall last week.

Mr. Douglas was arrested Wednesday at his home by Toledo officers carrying a Northwood warrant charging him with impersonating a peace officer. Following a preliminary hearing yesterday in Perrysburg Municipal Court, the case was continued until Feb. 20. Mr. Douglas has been released on $2,500 bond.

Sgt. Ken Campbell, a Northwood detective, said off-duty Officer Michael J. Wilkinson entered mall property while test-driving a vehicle on the evening of Jan. 30. Mr. Douglas pulled him over with several aggressive driving maneuvers, questioned him, and told him he was trespassing on mall property and would be arrested if he did not leave.

While Mr. Douglas did not specifically claim to be a police officer during the incident, his actions - including stopping and questioning the off-duty officer - constitute impersonation, Sergeant Campbell said.

Northwood police hope to speak with other people Mr. Douglas may have pulled over, threatened, or otherwise accosted, the sergeant said. Police have spoken with one woman whom he allegedly ticketed, and have received witness reports of other patrol stops Mr. Douglas is accused of making, he said.

On July 25, 2002, Mr. Douglas pleaded no contest in Perrysburg court to an impersonation complaint from Perrysburg Township police. He received a suspended 90-day jail sentence and two years probation. The township police did not respond to a request for further details about that case.

Mr. Wilkinson said he did not identify himself to Mr. Douglas as a police officer because he had heard about the previous encounters and wanted to see what Mr. Douglas would do.

“I just let him dig a deeper hole the more he talked,” the officer said.

According to Officer Wilkinson s subsequent report, Mr. Douglas was operating a black Chevrolet Lumina marked “Public Safety” on the doors and “Chief Enforcement Agent” and “Community Response Unit” on the fenders, according to Officer Wilkinson s report. The car was equipped with red strobe lights in its taillights, white strobes in its headlights, and a blinking green light near its visor, the officer said.

Mr. Douglas claimed first to “work for the state of Ohio,” then later said he was working on behalf of mall tenants, though not for the mall itself.



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