By Dave Rogers
---- — AMESBURY — A Haverhill man who police said did such a good job impersonating a police officer that a real one was momentarily fooled could spend as much as a year behind bars if convicted.
Robert A. Webb, 42, 70 Presidential Drive, Bradford, was arraigned last Friday a day after his arrest inside the Route 110 McDonald’s in Amesbury. He was charged with impersonating a police officer, possession of burglarious tools, a red/blue light violation and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.
Webb was held on $500 cash bail and is due back Oct. 4 for a pretrial hearing at Newburyport District Court.
Webb had modified a 1999 Ford Crown Victoria with a siren, front strobe lights, a front push bar used to protect the front grille, clear lights on the rear of the car and many antennas attached to its trunk, police said.
According to the report of Officer Jonathan Morrill, Webb was heading toward Main Street on Route 110, when he saw what he thought was an unmarked state police cruiser activate its front lights in an attempt to pull over a motorist near the Route 110 McDonald’s. Morrill activated his blue lights and reversed direction so that he could assist what he thought was a state trooper.
But as Morrill drove past the suspect’s vehicle, he noticed the Crown Victoria was in poor condition, quickly raising his suspicions. Also catching his eye was the suspect’s beard, something not generally worn by state troopers. By the time he had reversed direction, Webb had left the scene.
After being joined by Officer Craig Lesage, the two spotted the car in the McDonald’s parking lot. As they walked closer to the restaurant, they saw a man staring at them from inside the building. Upon entering the restaurant, the same man continued to stare at them, and police noticed his table was clear, according to Morrill’s report.
Police began questioning the man, who they said admitted that he had pulled over another motorist. He told police that the other driver cut him off while inside the nearby Stop & Shop parking lot and he pulled him over to scare him straight. Police quickly learned Webb had a pending arrest warrant against him and placed him into custody.
A search of Webb’s vehicle resulted in the seizure of a pellet gun, black mask and black hat and gloves rolled up into a hoodie sweater.
“Which are consistent to tools for armed robberies, burglarious and other serious crimes,” Morrill wrote in his report.