Man impersonating police officer arrested near Hadley mall
HADLEY — A man who caused alarm for shoppers at Mountain Farms Mall after he was seen in the parking lot putting on a bulletproof vest and gun belt was arrested Thursday afternoon.
Police Chief Dennis Hukowicz said officers were called to the shopping center at 4:38 p.m. by a customer concerned about the behavior of the man, identified as Jason Cardona, 32, of Springfield, who was dressing in police gear outside a black Crown Victoria sedan parked next to the Old Navy store.
Police responded and, observing Cardona’s vehicle leaving the area, stopped it a short time later. When Cardona got out of the vehicle, he was observed wearing a bulletproof vest, a duty belt, which included a hand gun, baton and handcuffs, and a hand-made badge attached to the belt reading “service constable.”
Hukowicz said Cardona was unable to produce any official documentation explaining why he was in full police gear and then intentionally misled officers by citing several city and regional agencies for which he was supposedly working.
“He kept changing his story quite a bit,” Hukowicz said.
Cardona was arrested on charges of disorderly conduct, impersonating a police officer, intimidating a witness through obstruction, use of body armor in a felony and carrying a dangerous weapon, (a police baton), Hukowicz said. Hukowicz said police don’t know why Cardona was at the mall.
The hand gun was determined to be properly licensed to Cardona, he said.