Wolcott Man Admits Impersonating Federal Officer, Falsifying Military Discharge Certificate
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that BRUCE BROWN, also known as “Bruce Browne,” “Spenser Brown,” “Spenser Browne,” “Agent Brice” and “Detective Brice,” 47, of Wolcott, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty today in Bridgeport federal court to impersonating a federal officer and falsifying a military discharge certificate.
According to court documents and statements made in open court, on August 8, 2013, BROWN, operating a Ford Crown Victoria equipped to resemble a police vehicle, entered a shoreline residential community in Old Lyme. BROWN was wearing a bullet proof tactical vest with police insignia and was carrying a weapon and handcuffs. When approached by an Old Lyme resident, Brown stated that he was a special agent of the United States Coast Guard and was sent there to observe a Coast Guard vessel that was in the area.
While in the Old Lyme community, BROWN’s fiancée asked a friend to take BROWN out on the friend’s boat. As the boat was backing out of the slip, BROWN informed the boat owner that “I am commandeering your boat. Your boat is now a U.S. Coast Guard vessel.” BROWN then directed the owner to pilot his boat toward other vessels and at BROWN’s direction, the owner approached two boats operated by private citizens. In each instance, BROWN required the boat operators to produce their boating licenses.
BROWN then instructed the boat owner to approach an individual who was operating a jet ski. Again, BROWN asked the operator for his license. When the operator could not produce it, BROWN told him to return to the dock. The boat owner took BROWN back to the dock and then observed BROWN enter what appeared to be a police car and drive off with the emergency lights flashing. BROWN drove his car to the boat launch where the jet ski operator was removing his craft from the water. He required the jet ski operator to obtain his license. After the owner showed BROWN the license, he was allowed to leave.
Law enforcement officers subsequently located and questioned BROWN in the Old Lyme residential community. BROWN initially told them that he was a law enforcement officer sent by the U.S. Coast Guard to photograph a Coast Guard cutter that was in the area, but eventually admitted that he was not an officer. A search of BROWN’s car revealed numerous law enforcement items, including a bulletproof/tactical vest with police insignia and a TSA badge, multiple sets of handcuffs, three handguns, loaded gun magazines, significant quantities of ammunition including hollow point bullets, a knife, and a police tactical baton. BROWN was arrested on state charges at that time.
While released on bond following his arrest, BROWN took four other law enforcement badges in his possession and threw them into the Chestnut Hill Reservoir in Wolcott. BROWN subsequently informed federal authorities of his actions and, on September 27, 2013, a dive team from the Connecticut State Police recovered the badges.
Further investigation of this matter revealed that in March 2013, BROWN offered to have a “scared straight” conversation with the sons of an acquaintance who believed BROWN was a federal law enforcement officer with experience in narcotics matters. Brown arrived at his acquaintance’s home in a Crown Victoria that resembled a police vehicle, displayed a badge and had a holstered gun and handcuffs secured on his belt. BROWN individually introduced himself to the minors as “Agent Brice” and “Detective Brice.” After some initial conversation, BROWN escorted the minors up to their rooms. Their mother tried to follow, but was ordered by BROWN to stay downstairs. She heard raised voices and later learned from her son that BROWN had drawn his gun and handcuffed her son while BROWN searched his room.
Eventually, BROWN walked downstairs with one of the minors and entered the garage. BROWN removed the weapon from his holster and pointed it in proximity of the minor as they prepared to enter the garage. BROWN returned with a backpack that contained about $200, a small amount of what appeared to be marijuana and a pipe. After confirming with the mother that the money was from a legitimate source, BROWN gave her the money and took the backpack and all of its contents. While in the house, BROWN indicated that he had conducted surveillance on the boys in the prior week and related several incidents to them that seemed to authenticate that claim.
The investigation further revealed that in April 2002, BROWN was discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard “under other than honorable conditions.” In February 2013, BROWN submitted a Pistol Permit Application to the Connecticut State Police Special Licensing and Firearms Unit. In the military history section of the application, BROWN stated that he had not been discharged from the United States Armed Forces with less than an Honorable Discharge. The form required BROWN to attach a copy of his Department of Defense Discharge Form, DD-214. In box 24 of his DD-214, BROWN obliterated the words “under other than,” leaving the form to appear as if he had been discharged under “honorable conditions.”
BROWN pleaded guilty to two counts of impersonating a federal law enforcement officer, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of three years on both counts, and one count of falsifying a military discharge certificate, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of one year. He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill on May 19, 2014.
This matter is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security – Office of Inspector General, Coast Guard Investigative Service, Connecticut State Police, and the Wolcott, Bristol and Southington Police Departments. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Miller.
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