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Duncan man charged with impersonating an officer

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DUNCAN, Okla._More information has come out pertaining to the Duncan man who was arrested Wednesday for impersonating a police officer in Stephens County.

Austin Wren was formally charged Thursday and has pleaded not guilty. The sheriff's department received several reports last month of a man wearing dark colored clothing, driving a black Tahoe with a light bar and pulling them over. Deputies arrested Wren one week after a search warrant uncovered evidence that connected him to the crimes.

A woman says Wren pulled her over on Highway 81 just one of mile south of Comanche. She said Wren was driving a black Tahoe with a light bar on the top and no visible markings. Sheriff Wayne McKinney says the vehicle that Wren was driving is identical to the ones his deputies drive.

"They didn't say he went as far as to have a uniform on, but he had on a dark shirt and dark pants, wore a police type ball cap and had visible lights on his vehicle," said Sheriff McKinney.

The woman says he yelled at her for having military dog tags from her rear view mirror. He then told her she should, "die and go to hell" for the things she had done. Afterwards he got back in his car and took off. Once he had left, she called the sheriff's department to complain about how she was treated.

Sheriff McKinney says most of their patrol cars have the "Stephens County Sheriff" insignia on them, but some don't. Because of the variation it would've been easy for someone to mistake Wren's SUV for a patrol car.

"Normally when one of my deputies stops them, they will identify themselves. A lot of times I like them to identify themselves by name," explained McKinney.

McKinney urges drivers to be cautious and if you don't feel comfortable then to call 911.

"We're not going to be stopping people on a real dark road or off from the beat and traffic. For officer safety reasons they are going to find an open area to stop them where there is as much ambient light that we can, if it happens at night," said McKinney.

McKinney says anytime someone is impersonating an officer they are very concerned about the public's safety. Luckily Wren didn't try to abduct anyone, just make traffic stops.

"This individual didn't go to that length. Now I don't know where it would have gone if we wouldn't have caught him as soon as we did and got him arrested," said McKinney.

McKinney says Wren, for a short time, was a reserve officer in the town of Cement. In his house, deputies found a duty belt, expandable baton, a black ball cap with "Police" on the front, multiple handcuffs and other various items.

Wren is free as of Thursday night on a $10,000 bond. He is set to make his next appearance in court on August 13.

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