U.S. Marshals Arrest Columbus Man Wanted On Three Felonies
Police call Joseph Dean an imposter, a man detectives say robbed at least one person by dressing like a police officer.
“He was wearing a badge, chain, a black tactical style vest - similar (or) typical of what you would see some of your tactical officers,” says Lieutenant Ron Wright of the Reynoldsburg Police Department.
Police say he also carried a Taser that officers say he used to threaten his victim.
“The victim said, 'Hey I don't think you're a police officer', that's when he took out his stun gun and started activating his stun gun telling him pretty much to back off," says Wright.
Police say the crime happened at the Days Inn Hotel off of Brice Road.
Detectives say Dean's girlfriend posed as a prostitute on an escort website then brought her customer there. Police say Dean would barge into the room claiming to be a Columbus police officer and rob the victim.
“He handcuffed the guy with his hands behind his back,” says Wright.
Before Dean left the hotel room, police say he released the victim.
That tactic eventually led to his capture.
According to a search warrant, the victim attempted to block Dean's vehicle into the parking lot. The victim then followed the suspect and was able to write down the license plate.
Police ended up at his west Columbus address on Ridgebury Road.
10TV was the only station there, when US Marshal's say they found all the gear Dean used to try to carry out his crime.
His girlfriend, Marice Phalen, was also charged with obstructing justice - for lying to police where her boyfriend was living.
Police, they say this case should be a warning to others who look for love online.
“You never know it could go wrong you never know what you're going to walk into to,” says Wright.
The US Marshals say when they arrived at the home, Dean barricaded himself refusing to surrender, but finally did.
Dean is charged with aggravated robbery, kidnapping and impersonating a police officer.