02/11/04 — Police impersonator investigation

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Police impersonator investigation

By Staff and Wire
Published in News on February 11, 2004 2:03 PM

WILSON -- A man charged with impersonating a police officer is being investigated in five other towns in eastern North Carolina, including Goldsboro, Wilson police said.

Charles Henry Arms, 63, of Charlotte, is charged with five counts of impersonating a police officer, two counts of felony breaking and entering and larceny and three counts of attempting to obtain property by false pretenses.

His charges are related to five of the 10 police impersonation cases in Wilson dating to April 2002. Arms was arrested Friday by Charlotte police after a joint investigation.

Arms was held under $510,000 bond.

Investigations are pending in Goldsboro, Warsaw, Kinston and Rocky Mount, Wilson Police Sgt. D.B. Garris said.

Goldsboro police were expected to charge Arms today with related offenses, investigators said. He was accused of conning a couple out of $4,000 in August.

According to a Goldsboro police report, the suspect went to the home on Argo Street and said he had been watching it because the resident had been allowing bank robbers to stay there.

The suspect then asked the resident if he had any money. The resident showed the suspect $4,000, and the suspect said he needed it to check the serial numbers. He ran outside and fled.

Investigators were called by a Warsaw resident who had heard news reports about a police impersonator and wrote down the license number of a suspicious car, Garris said.

"We were the first agency to have him identified by a victim," Garris said.

Investigators used arrest photographs of Arms from prior convictions in Guilford and Davidson counties.

N.C. Department of Correction records show that Arms was convicted in 1991 for first-degree burglary, two counts of misdemeanor breaking and entering, two counts of misdemeanor larceny, and impersonating a peace officer. He served an 11-year sentence.

As recently as Jan. 16, a man attempted to gain entry to two houses in Wilson claiming he was a police officer. In both instances, residents refused to allow the impersonator to search their houses, and the man left.

In November, two men impersonating police officers stole cash and a firearm from another home and attempted the same at yet another, but fled when the resident asked to verify their credentials.

In September, an 85-year-old resident was robbed.