Man Arrested for Impersonating Police Officer

Published 07/18 2014 05:53PM

Updated 07/18 2014 11:03PM

A Scranton man was arrested Friday on accusations he impersonated a police officer earlier this week on the Casey Highway in Lackawanna County.

It's not just his actions that have investigators concerned.

What state police found in the suspect's truck also have them concerned. Troopers say they seized a loaded gun, sheriff's badge, handcuffs and even a Pennsylvania State Police patch.

With the help of a cane, Charles Zehel made his way out of the State Police Barracks in Dunmore Friday.

The 38-year-old is accused of impersonating a police officer by pulling another man over earlier this week.

The incident happened around 5:00 PM Tuesday on the Casey Highway in the Olyphant area.

"The person who was pulled over had a real good head on his shoulders in terms of documenting some things to include a license plate and he reported the incident to state police immediately," Lt. Chris Paris with the Pennsylvania State Police said.

The victim was a 49-year-old man riding a motorcycle.

Zehel's truck was equipped with flashing lights and he allegedly showed the victim a badge.

Zehel told investigators he pulled the man over because he was driving too quickly, even though he had no authority to do so.

"I'm happy they reacted that fast. Usually the cops in this area are a little slow to act on things so I'm surprised they got him that fast," Elizabeth Garvey of Clarks Summit said.

Elizabeth Garvey works at a hair salon just off the Casey Highway.

After hearing Zehel had an arsenal of police equipment, including a loaded gun, handcuffs, a baton and CB radio, she worries what his intent was, seeing as he had no ties to the police.

"It's a little scary. It could have been anyone, a family member, a friend so I'm glad they got him really fast," Garvey said.

State police now wonder if there is anyone else that Zehel may have improperly pulled over.

Troopers stress if you have concerns about if you're being pulled over by a real police officer, slow down and put your flashers on and drive to a well-lit area.

"If you question whether or not you are being pulled over, you can call 911, you can make contact with an emergency dispatcher and you should be able to verify within a short period of time that yes, you are being pulled over," Lt. Paris said.

Zehel is facing charges of impersonating a public servant, false imprisonment and possessing a gun without a license.

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