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Accused police impersonator pleads not guilty, seeks return of property

By Karen Florin

Publication: theday.com

Published 08/22/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 08/23/2013 12:16 AM

The 46-year-old Wolcott man accused of impersonating a police officer in Old Lyme on Aug. 8 while heavily armed pleaded not guilty Thursday during a brief appearance in New London Superior Court.

Bruce W. Browne, who is the half brother of former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, also requested, through his attorney, the return of his car and other personal property that was seized by town and state police.

Browne, wearing a dark business suit, did not turn toward the newspaper and television cameras in the courtroom during his arraignment and ducked back into the courtroom afterward when he saw the news crews waiting outside. About 45 minutes later, he exited the courthouse wearing sunglasses and a baseball cap and ran from reporters who waited outside.

At the request of prosecutor Michael E. Kennedy, Judge Karen E. Goodrow ordered Browne not to possess any firearms or “law enforcement accoutrements,” including badges, uniforms or other items associated with police.

Goodrow also ordered Browne to stay out of the Point O’ Woods section of Old Lyme, where he was visiting friends on Aug. 8 when a resident reported seeing a man in military clothing carrying a gun while walking on Sea View Road.

Browne has retained New London attorney Gregg W. Wagman, who declined to comment on the allegations.

The Old Lyme witness who contacted police said Browne, who was walking around in a “SWAT-like uniform,” identified himself as a member of the Coast Guard’s security team who was going to take photos of the barque Eagle, which was returning to New London from its summer cruise. The witness wrote down Browne’s license plate number, and officers located a 2004 blue Crown Victoria with antennas mounted on the trunk in a driveway at 32 Sea View Road, where Browne was attending a cookout, police said.

After questioning Browne, who was wearing battle dress uniform pants, police found three loaded 9 mm handguns inside the vehicle along with 12 fully loaded magazines with a total of 101 hollow-point and 102 ball 9 mm bullets, an expandable baton and a black nylon duty belt with two sets of handcuffs.

Browne also had a black tactical bulletproof vest with a silver metal Transportation Security Administration badge and “POLICE” on both the front and back, police said.

Browne told police he had walked on Sea View Road with a black nylon gun belt with a loaded 9 mm pistol in a belt holster.

Police said Browne had also taken a boat that did not belong to him and stopped three vessels off Point O’ Woods and asked for the boaters’ registrations and boater safety certificates. Police said he possessed an expired Coast Guard identification card that had belonged to him when he was a reserve member.

Kennedy, the prosecutor, said he would object to Browne’s attorney’s motion to return Browne’s car and other property. Browne’s next court date is Oct. 1.

Browne posted a $50,000 bond following his arrest. Judge Goodrow told him the state would seek an increase in the bond amount should Browne violate the conditions of his release.

He is charged with impersonating a police officer, interfering with an officer, possession of a dangerous weapon in a motor vehicle and breach of peace. According to police, Browne works for Northeast Surveillance & Communications of Wolcott. Scott Brown, the former senator, has told reporters the two do not have a close relationship.

k.florin@theday.com

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