BRANSON, Mo. — A man in the Taney County Jail is accused of taking advantage of people’s trust — by impersonating an officer of the law.
He’s charged with kidnapping and false impersonation of a law enforcement officer.
Police arrested him Monday night, after a call that Peter’s was representing himself as a U-S Marshal.
The victim does maintenance work at the newly opened Plato’s Cave — which houses international workers — and he says he’s so glad this guy is off the streets.
Ben Hutchison says he was going about his daily maintenance duties at Plato’s Cave. That’s when he claims he was approached by Branson resident Kristopner Peters ..who identified himself as a U-S Marshal.
” I was really terrified,” said Hutchison.
In order not to compromise the police investigation, specific details of what happened will not be disclosed at this time. However, Hutchison may have come very close to being kidnapped.
“I was very frightened…I was scared. I didn’t know what he was going to do,” Hutchison said.
He said Peters was very convincing.
“He had his uh…like civilian clothes on,” said Hutchison, “With the belt and handcuffs and radio and his gun.”
Quick thinking security workers at Plato’s Cave felt something was off and called police. That’s when they found out this so called U-S Marshal was a fake.
“I thought he was a cop,” Hutchison said, “But we found out that he wasn’t. So it just kind of startled me and everything.”
“The security officers that work here investigated him from Taney County…and that’s how they found out,” said Hutchison.
This wasn’t the first time, this U.S. Marshall wanna be had been seen in the area.
“He’s been hanging around here..you know he’s a shuttle driver. But, he comes over here in his unmarked car,” Hutchison said.
Lt. Sean Barnwell with Branson Police is hoping the public can help in this case.
.”We’re trying to determine all the facts,” said Barnwell, “We don’t know how far this goes back. We don’t know how many people have fallen victim to him. So, we’re reaching out to those people, hoping that they will contact us.”
“At anytime you can call the police department to find out to run a name by us or to ask us. Is this person legitimate. He’s driving this kind of car..he stopped me here,” Barnwell said.
The lieutenant also said he believes Peters may have been impersonating a U-S Marshal for a week or two.
Lt. Barnwell wants the public to know that all real police officers carry picture identification with their department on it — as well as a legitimate badge.