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Published: Thursday, 11/13/2008

3 charged for pretending to be Toledo policemen

An East Toledo man was arrested yesterday and warrants were issued for two others accused of posting two videos on YouTube.com showing themselves impersonating plainclothes police officers and harassing people, authorities said.

Anthony Lanting, 22, of 1211 Navarre Ave. pleaded not guilty during an arraignment yesterday in Toledo Municipal Court to three counts of impersonating a police officer. He was being held in the Lucas County jail in lieu of a $15,000 bond.

Austin Erel, 20, of 802 Mason St. and Scott Webb, 23, of 634 Plymouth St. also were charged with three counts each of impersonating a police officer. They remained at large last night, authorities said.

The warrants were issued after police served a search warrant at 718 Plymouth yesterday and seized computers and other evidence implicating the suspects in making a video they titled Eastside Cops, police said.

The Toledo police vice-narcotics unit and computer crimes detectives began investigating the incidents after they were alerted to the videos in July. The videos were removed from the Web site.

In one video, the suspects pull up to a person along the street, accuse the person of being a prostitute, and then order the person to the ground. The video shows them berating the person before they drive off laughing, police said.

Another video shows the suspects spray-painting a man sleeping on a park bench. They also are shown urinating into a beer bottle and then giving it to somebody to drink, police said.

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