LOWELL (CBS) — A Dracut man was ordered held on $1,000 bail on charges of impersonating a police officer and carrying an unlicensed gun in Tyngsboro over the weekend.
Kevin Lessard, 45, pleaded not guilty Monday at his arraignment in Lowell District Court.
Lessard was arrested by Tyngsboro Police Saturday after pulling over behind two women in a disabled car.
“Even though he’s in plain clothes, I thought he was off-duty,” Fatima Thollie said.
On Saturday afternoon, Florence and Fatima’s car had broken down on Pawtucket Boulevard in Tyngsboro.
She and her daughter said a red Ford Crown Victoria, like the kind police use, pulled up behind them with flashing lights on.
“He said ‘I’ll go wait in the car and put safety lights on,’ ” Thollie said.
They thought nothing of it, but another driver passing by called police because he thought Lessard was misrepresenting himself as a cop.
Tyngsboro police arrived to question Lessard.
“When asked if he had a badge or any police equipment, he said he did not. When asked if he had a firearm, he hesitated then said he did,” prosecutor Noah Ertel said.
After the conversation, Lessard was frisked and found to have a loaded, unlicensed 9-millimeter hand gun along with a telescoping police baton on him.
“Our officers responded immediately, made contact with the operator who immediately approached our officers. Very quickly, a conversation ensued between the officers the subject was frisked and a loaded handgun was found on him,” said Tyngsboro Police Chief Richard Howe.
Howe said Lessard never exactly told the woman or his officers that he was a policeman, but he says it was implied.
In court Monday, Lessard’s attorney Jennifer O’Brien said the police officer impersonation charge is “shaky at best.”
The defense attorney said his client wasn’t misrepresenting himself at all. He was simply sitting in his car, trying to help the woman and a female passenger when police arrived.
“He didn’t pull this person over, didn’t represent to this individual at any time that he was a police officer or show a badge,” O’Brien said.
Still, it’s an incident that left the mother and daughter very frightened.
“Anything could have happened. He had a gun in his pocket,” Thollie said.
The defense also told the court the gun found on Lessard was not licensed because it was purchased at auction.
Prosecutors indicated Lessard may have impersonated a police officer before. They say a witness has come forward to say the defendant claimed he was “working alongside the State Police.”
Lessard does not have a criminal record.