Detectives are trying to determine if the man had any suspicious interactions with residents who thought he was a legitimate sworn officer.
HYATTSVILLE, Md. — A Maryland security guard was arrested and charged with impersonating a police officer, according to Hyattsville Police.
Robert Muschette Jr., 53, was stopped by officers in the parking lot at the Mall of of Prince George's on Thursday night around 11:25 p.m. According to investigators, he had blue and red emergency lights on in the dashboard of his dark green Ford Explorer.
Police say Muschette Jr. first identified himself as "DC police" but later said he was a "special police officer" for a security agency.
"This is clearly the case of an individual who was on a power trip who is doing nothing more than use illegitimate authority to stop people and victimize people," said Hyattsville Police Chief Jarod Towers to WUSA9. He says it is still unclear to what Muschette's intentions were.
Robert Muschette Jr., 53 of District Heights is facing criminal charges for impersonating a police officer. @HyattsvillePD says the security guard told officers he was "D.C. police" and later said he was a "special police officer" for a security agency. @wusa9 pic.twitter.com/3uGsDfiVtm— Rafael Sánchez-Cruz (@rafasanchezcruz) March 12, 2023
Inside his SUV, officers recovered a loaded handgun that was visible in the passenger's seat. Muschette also had a police-style badge, ballistic vest, ammunition, handcuffs, and apparel including hats that said "police" on them.
These are the times that the found inside his vehicle:
A loaded handgun, a police-style badge, ballistic vest, ammunition, handcuffs, and apparel with the word 'police' on it.
Due to prior criminal convictions Muschette Jr. is prohibited from possessing firearms in MD. @wusa9 pic.twitter.com/lXtjlMygs3
"This person was not associated with law enforcement. Not associated with Hyattsville or Hyattsville Police Department," said Towers. Hyattsville detectives are trying to determine if Muschette had any suspicious interactions with residents who thought he was a legitimate sworn officer.
Muschette Jr. caught the attention of officers when he was seen driving in the parking lot of the Mall of Prince George's with these red and blue emergency lights. The security guard is only permitted to have yellow lights installed in his car. @wusa9 pic.twitter.com/IMb5E4uOsj— Rafael Sánchez-Cruz (@rafasanchezcruz) March 12, 2023
Investigators later determined that Muschette Jr. was only authorized to have yellow lights in his vehicle, and that due to prior criminal convictions, he is prohibited from possessing firearms under Maryland law.
Muschette Jr. has been charged with impersonating a police officer, and is facing five weapons charges including a felony charge for firearm possession with felony conviction.
The Hyattsville Police Chief says police impersonation incidents jeopardize the relationship with the community and law enforcement. Towers says he is concerned that residents may have had interactions with Muschette Jr. and have been unaware that they were not dealing with a legitimate officer, particularly the immigrant community. "If he stopped you or interacted with you in any way, we want you to come forward and let us know," said Towers.
Residents that may have interacted with Muschette Jr. or know of any suspicious activity connected to the man are asked to call (301) 985-5060.
"We want to be able to prosecute him, and hold him accountable for any crimes he may have committed while acting as a police officer," said Towers.
Muschette Jr. was released on a $5,000 bail Friday according to court records. He is due back in Prince George's County court on April 10.