Police: man pretended to be officer, held woman hostage

SUGARLOAF, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) - Eyewitness News exclusively obtained video showing a man walk into a vending machine area inside the Motel 6 in Sugarloaf Township and place what appears to be a gun on top of a soda machine. Then, it appears he tries to hide another item behind a machine before leaving the room.

The video is part of an investigation into an alleged police impersonation case both sugarloaf township and butler township police are conducting.

Authorities say the man identified as Martin Smith from Florida was attempting to hide evidence after he allegedly pretended to be an officer and handcuffed a woman at gunpoint inside the motel.

"That's a scary situation," said Ashley Wallace, who is visiting from State College.

People we spoke with at a nearby gas station on Route 93 are scared to think of someone impersonating a police  officer.

Authorities say Smith met with the victim - a prostitute -  at the motel early Saturday morning and pretended to be a DEA agent.

Smith allegedly kept the woman inside the motel room until she managed to escape - and called local police for help. The manager of the motel - Jay Utting - says that his employees at the front desk saw Smith on surveillance video as he was in the vending machine room area, allegedly attempting to hide a weapon. When the employee went to see what was happening, police were already on scene. Authorities found a radio, a B.B. gun a badge and handcuffs on smith and he was taken into custody.

Smith is charged with unlawful restraint, impersonation of a public servant, drug posession and solicitation of a prostitute.

He is being held at the Luzerne County Prison on $100,000 bail.


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