Jury Finds State College Man Guilty of Impersonating a Police Officer
A Centre County jury found a State College man guilty Wednesday of impersonating a police officer.
The jury found 26-year-old Gregory J. Lensie Jr. guilty of one count of impersonating a public servant and disregarding traffic lanes. The jury found him innocent for one count of disorderly conduct.
The charges stem from a March 20 incident when Lensie was driving southbound on North Atherton Street in State College when he came upon a Jeep occupied by a man and a woman in the left lane while traffic was somewhat congested.
Authorities say Lensie began tailgating the victims' vehicle and driving erratically, swerving in and out of lanes, seemingly frustrated that he could not get past them.
Near the intersection of Blue Course Drive and North Atherton Street the driver of the Jeep motioned for Lensie to pass him using the right lane. He pulled up beside them and then quickly pulled back in the left lane behind them. Lensie then took what looked to be a police badge from his visor and began waiving it through his windshield at the victims.
When the victims stopped at the red light by Cherry Lane, Lensie pulled up beside them in the right lane and stopped, halting the traffic behind him. Lensie then began motioning for the passenger to roll her window down and continued waiving the badge at them.
Once the victims opened the window slightly Lensie began yelling, "you are in trouble" and "pull over" repeatedly. The victims asked him several times if he was a police officer, but got no response. After Lensie began yelling profanities at them the victims decided to call the police. Lensie then fled.
Centre County Common Pleas Judge Jonathan D. Grine presided is expected to sentence Lensie on March 6.
District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said in a prepared statement, "Impersonating a police officer is inexcusable. Those who impersonate law enforcement officers undermine the public's trust in police. If you are ever pulled over and unsure, explain to the officer that you are unsure about the situation and ask them to display official department identification and badge. Ask where they work and if you can contact their dispatch center to confirm their identity. Professional law enforcement will quickly identify themselves as such. You may also request a marked patrol unit to respond if they are unmarked. Trust your gut."