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Stevensville man charged with impersonating police officer

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HANOVER — A Stevensville man who previously served time for impersonating an FBI agent has been arrested and charged with impersonating a police officer at Arundel Mills Mall.

Mall security reported a man entered the shopping center just after 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, wearing what appeared to be a police-type uniform. When the man took off his coat, guards noticed he was wearing a tactical vest with a police-style badge and was wearing handgun in a holster, Anne Arundel County Police said in a statement.

Security staff spoke with the man about the gun, and he claimed to be a criminal investigator for the Army, police said. They asked him to leave, which he did. Security reported the incident to police.

“As a result of the great working relationship with security staff who are valued asset at the establishment, detectives were able to obtain information leading to the identity of the male and determine he is not a law enforcement officer,” police said in a news release.

Police identified the suspect as Eric Kappesser, 29, of Marion Quimby Drive, Stevensville. A warrant was issued Monday, Dec. 2, for his arrest on charges of handgun on a person, two counts of impersonating a police officer and impersonation: UU/uniform.

Kappesser was found in Annapolis and the warrant served Wednesday, Dec. 4. He initially was held without bond. At a bail review hearing later Wednesday, the judge set bond at $10,000, which Kappesser posted and was released. A trial has been scheduled for Feb. 14, 2020.

In the earlier case, Kappesser was arrested May 2, 2017, after a federal grand jury in Wilmington, Del., indicted him on two counts of impersonating a federal agent and one count of the unauthorized possession of a badge or insignia of a federal agency.

The indictment alleged that, between April and October 2016, Kappesser represented himself to others as an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In addition, he specifically requested and obtained a law enforcement discount when purchasing certain firearms accessories in September 2016. In or around October 2016, Kappesser also wore a replica of an FBI badge around his neck.

If convicted, he could have received a maximum of three years in prison on each of the impersonation charges and up to six months in prison on the unauthorized possession charge, but he accepted a plea deal on Jan. 10, 2018.

Kappesser pleaded guilty to one count of impersonation of a federal official, and federal prosecutors dismissed the other charges.

The Defendant’s Sentencing Memorandum prepared by Kappesser’s attorney, Dina Chavar, sheds more light on the case: “Eric Kappesser, for as long as he can remember, wanted to serve in the armed forces and make military service his career. He was on his way to achieving that goal when a serious injury led to a prescribed treatment of pain pills — Percocet. While his story may not be unique, it’s commonality makes it no less true. He became addicted; his life began to fall apart. Achieving his lifetime goal of being career military was lost to him. Mr. Kappesser is before this Court for sentencing on conduct that stemmed from his drug addiction. He has been in custody for almost 5 months — in addition to the almost 5 months he spent in an inpatient facility on a dual diagnosis treatment plan during the pretrial period of this case. The advisory guidelines are 0-6 months. A sentence of time-served, is sufficient, but not greater than necessary, to achieve the statutory directives set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).”

The memorandum later stated: “What he needs now, is not more punishment, but rehabilitation. He needs the chance to start a new life, on a new path, and to come to terms with the loss of the path he had grown-up with thinking he would travel.”

United States District Court Judge Richard G. Andrews followed Chavar’s recommendation, sentencing Kappesser to time served on Feb. 26, 2018. Kappesser was to be on supervised probation for a year, participate in a drug treatment program, have a mental health evaluation and participate in treatment as directed by his probation officer, have no contact with any victims in the case, resolve an outstanding warrant in Washington state and pay a special assessment of $100.

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