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Racine police say a 28-year-old Sturtevant man impersonated a police officer and may have been trying to take young girls from a local playground.
Benjamin Ogas was charged in Racine County Circuit Court Monday with one felony count of impersonating a peace officer and four felony counts of attempted false imprisonment as well as 14 misdemeanor counts of bail jumping. If convicted, he faces more than 25 years in jail and/or more than $175,000 in fines.
According to the criminal complaint, Racine police were called at 4:24 p.m. Sunday to the area of Goold and Erie Streets for a report of a man on bicycle taking pictures of girls. He was described as a white male with a camera, riding a silver Trek bicycle wearing black jeans and a grey or black jacket.
The mother of one of the girls on the playground said Ogas approached the girls and tried to get them to go with him, police say. The girls told officers they could see flashes from the camera and when the defendant approached them, they ran down the street to one of their houses.
The mother told police she confronted Ogas and asked him what he thought he was doing, the complaint reads. To try and convince the woman he was really a police officer, he showed the mother his handcuffs and that’s when she said she was calling “the real police.”
Officers say they located Ogas and ordered him to stop his bike, but Ogas refused and told police he was “one of them,” “helping them bust the drugs” and other phrases to try and convince officers he was a police officer. After following Ogas down several streets and through alleys, police apprehended the defendant.
While being taken into custody, Ogas claimed to an officer in Racine, Mount Pleasant and Sturtevant, the complaint reads. A pat-down search of Ogas turned up an old pair of tin handcuffs, small empty bottles of liquor and miscellaneous papers. Police report the defendant smelled of alcohol and seemed to have not slept in days. He continued to claim that he was a police officer and was trying to help officers find a drug house.
Returned dispatch reports indicate that Ogas is accused of taking a Racine County Sheriff’s squad from a repair shop and he has several open cases in Racine County Circuit Court.
Ogas was assigned a $2,500 cash bond during his initial appearance Monday. He will next be in court for a competency hearing Dec. 8.