Alleged undercover police impersonator arrested

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published March 18, 2015

 Christopher Lynn

Christopher Lynn

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HAZEL PARK — When two students at Hazel Park High were allegedly approached by a man who claimed to be an undercover police officer, authorities were alerted and arrested the man.

The suspect is Christopher Lynn, 30, of Warren. He was arraigned March 4 in Hazel Park 43rd District Court and charged with one count of impersonating a police officer, a one-year misdemeanor. At press time, he was being held on a $5,000 cash-or-surety bond at Oakland County Jail.

He was also wanted on outstanding warrants, including a retail fraud warrant out of Troy and a traffic violation warrant, also out of Troy.

Police said the man posed as a plainclothes undercover officer on at least two occasions: Feb. 25 around 4:10 p.m., and March 2 around 3:15 p.m. In each case, the suspect reportedly approached a student at Hazel Park High: a Hazel Park boy, 15, in the first incident, and two Hazel Park boys, 15 and 16, in the second incident.

He allegedly asked them if they knew any students who had drugs or were selling narcotics. In both cases, the students were suspicious of the man’s behavior. They told him they don’t do drugs or know anyone who does, and they walked away. They then told their parents, who notified the police.

On March 3, officers in the area saw a man matching the suspect’s description and made contact with him around 4:15 p.m. Police said a confession was obtained during the interview.

“We always encourage our citizens to call us if they see or hear something suspicious, like these children did,” said Hazel Park Police Chief Martin Barner. “Because the kids’ parents called us, we were able to establish a pattern that this guy was behaving a certain way. He was also wearing pretty distinctive clothing on both days.”

Barner said the suspect claimed he wasn’t trying to get drugs for himself. Rather, the suspect said he is a fan of police shows on TV and has always wanted to say that he is an officer.

“But usually, these individuals posing as police officers will go on to do more serious crimes, like armed robbery or larceny or assault,” Barner said. “This crime itself is only a one-year misdemeanor, but often people will take it a step further, and then the penalties are obviously more severe.

“We’ve had this happen before, years ago,” Barner added. “You hear of this occasionally throughout the metro area. This kind of incident can create a rift between the citizens and the Police Department, because these individuals who pose as police officers create an increased element of risk. That’s how the lack of trust develops between police and citizens, when the citizens don’t know for sure who the police really are.”

Lynn was assigned a court-appointed attorney, but at press time no further information was available.

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