New Castle County-A 25-year old man was arrested last week for impersonating a police officer said wearing a tactical vest and pretending to be a trooper helped calm him down when he was feeling depressed.
Shane Windell is also a person of interest in several false reports of fires at The Crossings at Limestone.
On June 15, The Mill Creek Fire Company was dispatched to the complex at about 3 a.m.
Firefighters observed Windell get out of a car wearing a police-style tactical vest and what appeared to be a holster gun.
An officer found Windell’s 2010 blue Chevy Colbalt and saw used shooting targets as well as handcuffs inside. There were also red and blue lights resembling those used by police in both the front and back windows.
Two days later, police found out tat Windell had told someone he was a State Police detective with Troop 6 in New Caste County. A confidential source reached out to the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms after New Castle County Police issued a Gold Alert for Windell on June 1.
Gold Alerts are used when someone is missing and police are concerned about their safety.
Windell was found in less than 24 hours. But the confidential source saw the alert and contacted AFT to let them know that Windell had been posing as an undercover State Police detective and wearing a black tactile vest with a "police" placard on the chest when he visited the source's place of business, according to court documents.
When the confidential source confronted Windell about his employment, Windell begged him/her not to contact State Police and offered the source $1,000 to be quiet, according to court documents.
Detectives contacted State Police, who said Windell is not and has never been a DSP employee.
Windell was detained on June 19 by a security officer for the Limestone Road apartments, who believed Windell was wanted by the State Fire Marshall's Office for calling in the false alarm a few days earlier.
There was not an active warrant for Windell's arrest, but police seized a green ballistic vest Windell was wearing, according to court documents. At the time, he was also in possession of zip tie hand restraints and a Glock-style BB gun, the court documents said.
He was arrested the next day, June 20, police said. Police searched his vehicle and seized the handcuffs, zip tie hand restraints and red-and-blue lights, the court document said.
In his apartment, police found the Glock-style BB gun, which was secured in a black holster. They also recovered a velcro patch with the word "police" on it, such as those commonly worn on police tactical vests, according to court documents.
Windell told officers in an interview at police headquarter that he had purchased the green tactical vest and U.S. Marshal patches online for $70 or $80 a few weeks before, court documents said. He said he bought the BB gun at Dick's Sporting Goods and the holster at Cabelas. He ordered the light bars for his car online, even though he was cited for using similar lights in Cecil County, Maryland, in December, court documents said.
Windell said he frequently wore tactical vests in his car or in his apartment because he has bipolar disorder and the thought of being a police officer calmed him down and made him less depressed, according to court documents.
Windell also admitted to calling the fire department on June 15. He was sitting in his car wearing his vest and the holstered BB gun because he was depressed over losing his job, according to court documents, when he smelled smoke.
Believing his cat may have accidentally turned on a burner to his stove, he texted 911 that there was a fire in his apartment. Windell said he got out of his car to talk to the firefighters and quickly took the vest off because he did not want them to think he was a cop, according to court documents.
He also told police that he frequently wore a black tactical vest with a police badge to the Wawa next to his apartment building, court documents said.
Windell was charged with one count of misdemeanor criminal impersonation, arraigned and released, police said Monday. The Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office is still investigating the false fire calls.