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Guilty Plea After 'Coast Guard' Imposter Commandeers Boat

The bizarre case of Bruce Brown, half-brother of ex-U.S. Sen. Scott Brown -- involves not only commandeering a boat and handcuffing a kid, but a dive team sent to find phony badges in a reservoir.

A U.S. Coast Guard badge (source: Wikimedia Commons)
A U.S. Coast Guard badge (source: Wikimedia Commons)
Update 7:31 p.m.:

Bruce Brown, who pleaded guilty to impersonating a federal officer, is widely reported to be the brother of former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, a Massachusetts Republican.

Original article:

At one point, he announced he was a U.S. Coast Guard official and told a boat owner he was commandeering his boat for Coast Guard work.

The bullet-proof tactical vest, weapon and handcuffs he had with him likely made him look more convincing. On another occasion, calling himself "Detective Brice," he handcuffed a boy, searched his room for drugs and even pointed a gun at him.

His serial impersonations may now be at an end: Bruce Brown, 47, of Wolcott, pleaded guilty in fedral court Monday to impersonating a federal officer and falsifying a military discharge certificate.

This news release from the United States Attorney's Office for Connecticut presents the bizarre details of Brown's colorful criminal career (subheadings have been added):

Bruce Brown, also known as “Bruce Browne,” “Spenser Brown,” “Spenser Browne,” “Agent Brice” and “Detective Brice,” 48, of Wolcott, waived his right to indictment and pleaded guilty today in Bridgeport federal court to impersonating a federal officer and falsifying a military discharge certificate.

'Your boat is now a U.S. Coast Guard vessel.'

According to court documents and statements made in open court, on August 8, 2013, Brown, operating a Ford Crown Victoria equipped to resemble a police vehicle, entered a shoreline residential community in Old Lyme.

Brown was wearing a bullet proof tactical vest with police insignia and was carrying a weapon and handcuffs. 

When approached by an Old Lyme resident, Brown stated that he was a special agent of the United States Coast Guard and was sent there to observe a Coast Guard vessel that was in the area. While in the Old Lyme community, Brown’s fiancée asked a friend to take Brown out on the friend’s boat. 

As the boat was backing out of the slip, Brown informed the boat owner that “I am commandeering your boat.  Your boat is now a U.S. Coast Guard vessel.”  Brown then directed the owner to pilot his boat toward other vessels and at Browns direction, the owner approached two boats operated by private citizens. 

In each instance, Brown required the boat operators to produce their boating licenses. Brown then instructed the boat owner to approach an individual who was operating a jet ski. 

Again, Brown asked the operator for his license.  When the operator could not produce it, Brown told him to return to the dock. The boat owner took Brown back to the dock and then observed Brown enter what appeared to be a police car and drive off with the emergency lights flashing. 

Brown drove his car to the boat launch where the jet ski operator was removing his craft from the water.  He required the jet ski operator to obtain his license. 

After the owner showed Brown the license, he was allowed to leave. Law enforcement officers subsequently located and questioned Brown in the Old Lyme residential community. 

Brown initially told them that he was a law enforcement officer sent by the U.S. Coast Guard to photograph a Coast Guard cutter that was in the area, but eventually admitted that he was not an officer. 

A search of Brown’s car revealed numerous law enforcement items, including a bulletproof/tactical vest with police insignia and a TSP badge, multiple sets of handcuffs, three handguns, loaded gun magazines, significant quantities of ammunition including hollow point bullets, a knife, and a police tactical baton.  Brown was arrested on state charges at that time.

While released on bond following his arrest, Brown took four other law enforcement badges in his possession and threw them into the Chestnut Hill Reservoir in Wolcott. 

Brown subsequently informed federal authorities of his actions and, on Sept. 27, 2013, a dive team from the Connecticut State Police recovered the badges.

'Scared straight' with a drawn gun

Further investigation of this matter revealed that in March 2013, Brown offered to have a “scared straight” conversation with the sons of an acquaintance who believed Brown was a federal law enforcement officer with experience in narcotics matters. 

Brown arrived at his acquaintance’s home in a Crown Victoria that resembled a police vehicle, displayed a badge and had a holstered gun and handcuffs secured on his belt.  Brown individually introduced himself to the minors as “Agent Brice” and “Detective Brice.” 

After some initial conversation, Brown escorted the minors up to their rooms.  Their mother tried to follow, but was ordered by Brown to stay downstairs.  She heard raised voices and later learned from her son that Brown had drawn his gun and handcuffed her son while Brown searched his room.

Eventually, Brown walked downstairs with one of the minors and entered the garage.  Brown removed the weapon from his holster and pointed it in proximity of the minor as they prepared to enter the garage. 

Brown returned with a backpack that contained about $200, a small amount of what appeared to be marijuana and a pipe.  After confirming with the mother that the money was from a legitimate source, Brown gave her the money and took the backpack and all of its contents. 

While in the house, Brown indicated that he had conducted surveillance on the boys in the prior week and related several incidents to them that seemed to authenticate that claim.

Falsifying a discharge certificate

The investigation further revealed that in April 2002, Brown was discharged from the U.S. Coast Guard “under other than honorable conditions.” 

In February 2013, Brown submitted a Pistol Permit Application to the Connecticut State Police Special Licensing and Firearms Unit.  In the military history section of the application, Brown stated that he had not been discharged from the United States Armed Forces with less than an honorable discharge. 

The form required Brown to attach a copy of his Department of Defense discharge form, DD-214.  In box 24 of his DD-214, Brown obliterated the words “under other than,” leaving the form to appear as if he had been discharged under “honorable conditions.”

Brown pleaded guilty to two counts of impersonating a federal law enforcement officer, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of three years on both counts, and one count of falsifying a military discharge certificate, which carries a maximum term of imprisonment of one year. 

He is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Stefan R. Underhill on May 19.

This matter is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security – Office of Inspector General, Coast Guard Investigative Service, Connecticut State Police, and the Wolcott, Bristol and Southington Police Departments.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ray Miller.

Correction: The U.S. Attorney's Office originally gave Brown's age as 48. He is 47, a spokesman for the office later pointed out.

Daniella Ruiz February 25, 2014 at 03:27 PM
and let's hope this guy doesn't turn around and sue the state, USCG and the taxpayers over some technicality. like the nerd officer who 'dropped' some drugs in New London, was FIRED, and is now suing the city. it's no wonder so many people are skittish around authority figures.
Igor February 25, 2014 at 08:22 PM
k
John Barry February 25, 2014 at 08:43 PM
Just another Republican, marching to his own little drum beat.
Haron Giffin February 25, 2014 at 09:41 PM
Have not read anywhere that he has a job. Perhaps Big bri knows what his occupation is, and will share that with us. With the arsenal found in his possession, this could have been a tragic situation. Hope something is done to prevent future possession of guns once he serves his time.
Donna Fleming February 26, 2014 at 12:41 AM
Could be related to Frank Abagnale.
Dan R February 26, 2014 at 07:02 AM
He just spends his life living in a rock 'n' roll fantasy He just spends his life living on the edge of reality (The Kinks)
Salin Low February 26, 2014 at 07:06 AM
This had nothing to do with Canton, CT and just seems like a smear on a possible Republican candidate - also not in Canton, CT. Keep it local!
NewtownMark February 26, 2014 at 07:13 AM
And this is local to Newtown how? Oh that's right, it's a republican's half brother, so he must be destroyed by the press
Arbie February 26, 2014 at 07:13 AM
Obviously someone again in need of mental heath services that this wonderful state of CT lacks as recent history shows us. This poor guy fell threw the cracks with his mental issues all these years since his discharge from the coast guard.
Haron Giffin February 26, 2014 at 07:21 AM
Seems to me the whole country supported Newtown, during their tradegy. The events in this story took place in a basically summer community, where people from across Ct and other states come to enjoy time with family and friends. He was a visitor, as you could have been, on that day. Thankfully there was no tradegy there. We all need to be concerned about the lack of mental health in our state. I do agree that the political comments are out of place, but there are haters everywhere.you can't choose your family, but you do choose your words and behavior.
NewtownMark February 26, 2014 at 07:33 AM
And they seem to choose what to report based on ideology in this fine state.
Dan R February 26, 2014 at 07:57 AM
Patch has laid off lots of reporters, they have basically become their own wire service
cheryl February 26, 2014 at 08:48 AM
I do remember Blumenthal stating something like that and he was ELECTED by CT to a higher position - senate. Too bad he wasn't held to the same standard.
James L Fee February 26, 2014 at 09:30 AM
There are enough police cruising in Crown Victorias out there, without any wannabees getting in on it too. Ever lag behind one for several slow miles before finding out it's an older man out with his wife - and knowing exactly what he's doing? That's bad enough but this guy had weapons and a dubious mental health outlook too.
PJ February 26, 2014 at 01:31 PM
I wonder if some guy named Kennedy would get the same headline as the Patch gave to Scot Brown. Where did the Patch get their info that this was Scot Brown`s half brother. Purely political garbage.
chuck February 27, 2014 at 06:00 AM
Hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on shrinks, programs and prisons won't help this knucklehead. The answer is obvious. These people need to be put to sleep until we can find a way to rewire the entire human brain. Until then they will wreak havoc upon all of us, bleeding our wallets without us even realizing it.
Dan R February 27, 2014 at 06:21 AM
PJ -thanks for your concern about Patch making up scurrilous info on the Brown family. I'm just wondering if you ever typed "Scott Brown's brother" into Google? I bet if you took 3 seconds to do that research you would have eliminated the need to have made yourself look foolish? Have a conspiracy free day ! http://boston.cbslocal.com/2014/02/24/scott-browns-half-brother-pleads-guilty-to-impersonating-officer/
NewtownMark February 27, 2014 at 07:42 PM
Haven't seen any articles about Blumy and Delauro being subpoenaed over the horrible way the union treated the old folks in the homes the struck but let a republicans half brother do something and it's big news
Miss Mary Mack February 28, 2014 at 11:13 AM
Actually, PJ, he REALLY is the half brother of Scott Brown.

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