CLEVELAND (AP) — Authorities say they've seized dozens of guns, thousands of rounds of ammunition and police equipment including badges, silencers and vehicles from the home of a man who tried to pull over a uniformed officer as he drove to work.
The man, David Scofield, is charged in Akron with misdemeanor counts of impersonating a police officer and carrying a concealed weapon.
Akron police say the officer was driving west on Interstate 76 around 4 a.m. on Oct. 14 when Scofield swerved in front of him and shined a spotlight on his vehicle from a car that looked like a police cruiser. The officer called 911, and the car was pulled over by officers from Akron and nearby Tallmadge.
The officers said they ordered Scofield out of the car and noticed in his back pocket he had a knife, which he threw into the car. They said they also found an empty holster and a loaded magazine in his pocket and two loaded pistols in his car.
Scofield told officers after he was arrested that he held a concealed-carry permit, authorities said. His car had a 1-800-DUI license plate on the front and "Click It or Ticket" decals on the side, they said.
But Scofield's attorney, Dennis DiMartino, said police have it all wrong. In an interview Thursday, DiMartino said Scofield shined the spotlight on the officer's license plate because he wanted to write down the number after the officer tailgated him and drove aggressively.
"I think the whole thing is basically the result of a lot of miscommunication, a lot of mixed signals," DiMartino said of the criminal charges.
Scofield has a concealed-carry permit and a federal firearms license. While he sat in jail last week, Akron police, sheriff's deputies and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives searched his home in Lancaster, a 2 1/2-hour drive from Akron. They said among all the police equipment they found uniforms, 30 weapons, including automatic machine guns, and more than 15,000 rounds of ammunition.
They also seized two vehicles, which Akron police Lt. Rick Edwards said appeared to be decommissioned police cars, including one with a radar gun mounted on the dashboard.
"We're thinking that somewhere between Youngstown and Lancaster he's tried this before," Edwards said, noting that Scofield's mother lives in the Youngstown area.
Edwards said Scofield, 50, is not affiliated with any police agencies.
State records show Scofield has been certified by the Ohio Peace Officer Training Association and has worked part time or as an auxiliary or reserve officer for eight police agencies since 1990.
DiMartino said Scofield was fired as a reserve officer in Athens County in 2013 after being wrongly charged with impersonating a police officer in Fairfield County in central Ohio during a traffic stop. DiMartino said Scofield had worked as a deputy the day before.
Court records show Scofield pleaded no contest to obstructing official business and received a $100 fine.
DiMartino complained that Scofield's house was trashed by police during the recent search.
"These are misdemeanor charges, not felonies," DiMartino said. "He's not a dangerous criminal."