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Cops: Tip leads to arrest of fake officer who made couple undress
By Charles Keeshan | Daily Herald Staff

Michael T. Spencer

 

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Published: 2/23/2010 3:17 PM | Updated: 2/23/2010 7:53 PM

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A McHenry County man accused of posing as a police officer and making a teenage couple remove their clothes in front of him was jailed Tuesday, thanks in part to a Crime Stoppers tip that came in to investigators about nine months after the incident.

Michael T. Spencer, 19, of Harvard, was arrested by McHenry County Sheriff's police on charges of robbery, burglary, aggravated false impersonation of a police officer, aggravated battery and criminal damage to property stemming from the May 15 incident near Streit and Lindwall roads, a rural area in the northwestern part of the county.

Authorities say Spencer approached the teens - a 15-year-old girl and 16-year-old boy - as they sat in a parked car and claimed he was a McHenry County police officer. He ordered them out of the vehicle and then searched it before searching both of the teens, sheriff's police said.

Spencer, sheriff's police said, then commanded the teens to remove their clothing, smashed the boy's cell phone, took his driver's license and punched him in the face before leaving the scene in a dark-colored vehicle believed to have been driven by a woman.

Sheriff's Lt. Andrew Zinke said efforts to identify the phony cop were at a dead end until someone who had knowledge of the incident called in an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers and linked Spencer to the crime.

"Thankfully because of Crime Stoppers and a person's guilty conscience we were able to make this case," he said. "It was somebody that had information and after nine months made the call. It points out what a valuable tool Crime Stoppers is."

Spencer was in custody Tuesday at the county jail unable to post a $5,000 cash bond. If convicted of the most serious charges against him - robbery and burglary - he would face a maximum three to seven years in prison.

The investigation is continuing and further arrests are expected, sheriff's police said.

The arrest comes just about a month after Spencer admitted guilt to a charge of teasing a police animal and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, court records show. The charge was filed after an April 25 arrest in which, police said, Spencer twice barked at a Harvard police dog named Hunter while the animal was locked in the rear of a squad car, causing the dog to charge and collide with the vehicle's interior.