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Brother of former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown arrested in Old Lyme for impersonating police officer

By Kimberly Drelich

Publication: theday.com

Published August 09. 2013 9:00AM   Updated August 10. 2013 12:51AM
Connecticut State Police photo, left, and Jim Shannon/Republican-American
In photo at left, handguns, ammunition, an expandable baton, handcuffs and a bullet proof vest confiscated from a man police said was impersonating a police officer are displayed. At right, Bruce Browne is pictured in a Jan. 26, 2010, file photo.

Old Lyme — Police on Friday arrested a heavily armed man who they say impersonated a police officer, represented himself as a member of the Coast Guard while stopping boaters and told people he was part of a security detail connected with the Coast Guard barque Eagle.

Bruce W. Browne, 46, of Wolcott was charged with impersonating a police officer, interfering with an officer, possession of a dangerous weapon in a motor vehicle and breach of peace.

Browne is the brother of former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown of Massachusetts, although their last names are spelled differently. Scott Brown told The Associated Press he was estranged from Browne, who is his half-brother.

"As many of you know, my mom and my late father were married and divorced four times each," Brown wrote on his Facebook page. "Unfortunately, we were not close as a family. These are serious charges and he will need to answer them. I feel badly for his children and I am thankful that no one was injured."

The former senator told WMUR-TV in Manchester, N.H., that he last saw Browne at their father's funeral in December.

Old Lyme police officers and state police from the Troop F barracks arrested Browne after responding to a call Thursday evening from a resident in the Point O' Woods beach community who reported seeing a man in military clothing carrying a gun while walking on Sea View Road, police said.

Earlier in the day, the witness had seen the same man walking around in a SWAT-like uniform. After the witness asked the man what he was doing, the man identified himself as a member of the Coast Guard's security team who was going to take photos of the Eagle, according to police. The Eagle returned to New London Friday from its summer cruise.

After seeing him later with a gun and bulletproof vest, the witness wrote down Browne's license plate number after watching him get into an unmarked cruiser, according to police.

After searching the area, officers found 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. Browne later said he owned the vehicle, according to police.

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 9mm 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 9mm pistol in a belt holster.

Upon further investigation, police said they learned Browne had earlier in the day taken a boat that did not belong to him. Claiming he was a "police/Coast Guard" official, he stopped three vessels off Point O' Woods and asked for the boaters' registrations and boater safety certificates, police said.

Police said he possessed an expired Coast Guard identification card that had belonged to him when he was a reserve member.

TSA and Coast Guard officials determined that Browne is not affiliated with either agency, the release stated.

Lt. J. Paul Vance, the state police spokesman, said police and Coast Guard officials planned a follow-up investigation to determine if any other similar incidents had taken place in the region.

Browne, who was released on a $50,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in New London Superior Court on Aug. 22, works for Northeast Surveillance & Communications of Wolcott and was visiting friends in the area, according to police. Wolcott Police Chief Edward Stephens said Browne "never caused us any trouble in Wolcott."

Old Lyme police Officer William Zipadelli was the arresting officer. The investigating officers were Old Lyme police Officers Zipadelli, Martin Lane, Sal Milardo and Tom Heinssen.

k.drelich@theday.com

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