A Pennsylvania man facing weapons charges after being arrested in a mall said that he was carrying his father's handgun because someone had threatened him. Police say the man was found dressed as a polifce officer assigned to Amtrak, including a partial uniform, a bulletproof vest and a handheld radio.
The Amtrak police equipment belongs to the suspect's father, according to a state police trooper who made the arrest the evening of March 9. The man had reportedly taken the equipment from his father's home and headed to the mall to search for a person who had threatened him on March 1. He did not find the person, but security personnel at the mall allegedly saw a firearm hanging from his hip as he walked around a store and in the parking lot.
The state trooper said the man told him he worked as a security guard for Amtrak, which may explain the lanyard that he was wearing around his neck with Amtrak identification on it. He said he would have shot the person who made the threat if he had found the person. The suspect's father was not aware his son had taken his police equipment, according to the trooper.
The trooper arrested the man on suspicion of possessing instruments of crime, unlawful taking of the handgun, theft and impersonating a public servant. The suspect spent several days in police custody before posting $50,000 bail.
Though we will likely never know if the suspect would have made good on his threat to shoot the person who had threatened him, this case shows that law enforcement takes reports of suspicious firearms very seriously.
Source: Delaware County Daily Times, "Cops: Chester man had gun at Granite Run," Cindy Scharr, March 13, 2012