A Paradise man charged with impersonating a police officer, theft and several breaches of court orders has been remanded into custody until a bail hearing can be held.
Corey Nichol, 30, made a brief appearance in provincial court in St. John’s Wednesday.
About 7:40 Tuesday night, the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary were called to the Dominion store on Blackmarsh Road to respond to a report of an attempted theft.
The suspect had fled the area in a vehicle by the time police arrived.
As officers watched security footage and took statements from store security, they received a report that the same person was at the Dominion on Stavanger Drive.
“The individual had a hand-crafted RNC badge as well as handcuffs as well as what appeared to be bear spray on his person as he entered the store and spoke with numerous personnel inside the store,” RNC Const. Susanne FitzGerald said.
Officers arrested the man at Stavanger Drive and seized the substance believed to be bear spray. FitzGerald said police will analyze the substance to determine exactly what it is.
Depending on what it actually is, Nichol could face additional charges including possession of a prohibited weapon.
“The exact motive as to why this individual would be impersonating a police officer is yet to be determined,” FitzGerald said, adding the investigation is ongoing.
“The individual had a hand-crafted RNC badge as well as handcuffs as well as what appeared to be bear spray on his person as he entered the store and spoke with numerous personnel inside the store.” - RNC Const. Susanne FitzGerald
She said police are very concerned about the incident.
“Impersonating a police officer is very alarming. Obviously the public has to have that level of trust with your policing agency to ensure that they are the individuals who can be trusted,” said FitzGerald, who added “in no way, shape or form” would an actual RNC officer have behaved as the suspect did.
“There’s no way that anybody would have looked at that badge and have believed it to be an actual RNC-issued police badge. The fact that anybody is impersonating a police officer is concerning, for sure,” she added.
“RNC street patrol officers and security personnel work together in a collaborative way so often. They’re familiar with our uniform, they’re familiar with our officers, they’re familiar with our kit and what we carry. … These particular security guards who observed this particular handcrafted badge knew something wasn’t quite right and immediately contacted police,” FitzGerald said.
Police also say Nichol has a suspended driver’s licence, no insurance, and more than $31,000 in outstanding fines.
He’ll be back in court today for his bail hearing.