Man charged with impersonating an officer

A 32-year-old Newberry man rode around James Island in an unmarked Ford Crown Victoria, which he said was from “Army Wives,” early Saturday, posing as a police officer, with a cage in the backseat along with a map, handcuffs and a box of gloves, according to Charleston police.

But there was no producer or film crew on hand when Jason T. Stoddard used flashing red and blue LED lights on the car to pull over a woman at Yale Drive near Mohawk Avenue on James Island about 3:50 a.m., according to police spokesman Charles Francis.

The woman told police she stopped because she thought an officer was pulling her over for a traffic violation.

Once she stopped, Stoddard, wearing camouflage pants, an orange shirt and a black pullover, approached her car with a flashlight in his hand, Francis said.

When the woman saw Stoddard’s clothing, she didn’t believe he was a real police officer and she drove off, Francis said.

The woman told police that Stoddard followed her down Yale Drive, then east on Central Park Road, then south on Folly Road.

The following continued, Francis said, until an officer saw a vehicle matching the description of Stoddard’s car heading north on Folly Road toward Wambaw Avenue.

The officer stopped Stoddard at Wambaw, near Yale Drive, and saw a cage in the backseat, along with a rear LED light bar and several antennas. The officer also saw a black mag-lite flashlight on the front seat, like police officers use, in addition to an orange and yellow traffic vest, a police scanner and radio under the dash and Velcro pads in the front, Francis said.

Stoddard told police he worked on the set of “Army Wives” and that the vehicle was a prop. He said he was shooting a music video earlier in the day and decided to take the car home.

Stoddard said he was heading to a friend’s house on Wambaw Avenue.

Once Stoddard gave officers consent to search the car, they located a black night stick, an LED light bar that can be attached to the Velcro strips on top of the dash, two mag-lite flashlights, a seat organizer that attaches to the passenger seat, a map, handcuffs and a box of gloves, Francis said.

The woman identified Stoddard as the man who had stopped her, as well as the vehicle he was driving.

Stoddard was charged Saturday with impersonating a police officer, Francis added. His bail was set at $25,000.

Reach Tyrone Richardson at 843-937-5550 and follow him on Twitter @tyrichardsonPC.

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