Two Conway residents were being held without bond Thursday after a plan to use police clothing and equipment to settle a domestic dispute went awry early Wednesday morning.
Amanda McCool, 33, of 1 Chipmunk Drive and Adam MacKenzie Stewart, 21, who is listed in a Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office jail intake report as having an address of 110 Waterfront Cove, are both charged with criminal impersonation.
According to a CPD incident report, officers were dispatched before dawn Wednesday to a call of two persons claiming to be police officers and causing a disturbance outside a north Conway home by repeatedly knocking on the door and shining flashlights in the windows.
The man inside the home had already called two friends for help, both Conway students in their early 20s.
When the two students arrived at the home they were allegedly confronted by McCool and Stewart. McCool was wearing a shirt with a badge embroidered into the front and the words "Sheriff’s Department" on the back, Stewart a plain black shirt.
The two students later told police that "the male and female identified themselves as police officers and made them get out of the vehicle and put their hands on the vehicle," according to the report.
Police were told that McCool and Stewart each "had a walkie-talkie and (were) pretending to talk into it saying all sorts of numbers and codes," according to the report.
"One of them was talking into a cell phone like it was a walkie-talkie," one of the students said Thursday. "They were using terms like numbers, like a code; 10-20, stuff like that; things that an officer would be saying. I’ve never heard stuff like they were saying at all, and it was suspicious after a while.
"At first we were just really kind of iffy about it. I mean, I’ve never had anybody try to do that before. I was thinking that they were real at first and then after a few minutes I started asking to see a badge and they wouldn’t do it. They refused to show us one."
They told police after they asked to see a badge the two started requesting backup on their walkie-talkies, and called in a S.W.A.T. team. They said they would shoot anyone else who might show up. Neither of them had a gun, according to the report.
Once his friends had arrived, the man inside the home came out to hear Stewart and McCool telling his friends to "get on the ground and stay where they were or the gunmen would shoot them."
According to the report, the students started to get more aggressive. One of them said Thursday that without seeing badges, they weren’t buying it.
"Once we’d called them on it they proceeded to get in their car and take off and say backup was on its way," one of them said Thursday. "We got in the truck and took off after them."
Conway police officers were on their way by this time, and the two students were on the phone with CPD dispatch.
"I responded in the direction that dispatch was passing on from the 9-1-1 caller that was following them," an officer wrote in his report. "Before I could catch up to the suspect vehicle they had crossed over into Conway County. Myself and (a CPD lieutenant) set up at Conway Sanitation in case they turned around and came back. The suspects made a few u-turns and eventually ended up coming back toward my location."
When McCool and Stewart, pursued by the men who minutes earlier had been victims of their plan, pulled in and asked for help when they saw the patrol cars.
"(McCool) was acting excited and said that there was a truck chasing her," the officer wrote, noting that McCool was wearing a sheriff’s department shirt.
According to the report, McCool told the officers that she and Stewart were trying to find a friend, and that they must have knocked on the wrong door. Another officer made contact with the students and escorted them to the sanitation department driveway to be interviewed. A pair of walkie-talkies and Maglite-brand four-cell flashlights similar to those used by police were found in the car McCool and Stewart arrived in, and they were arrested.
McCool explained after her arrest that the two were trying to confront the man inside the home about an affair he was having. She said the two discovered the affair after stealing a cell phone memory card and sifting through text messages.
Stewart had missed a court date on Monday for other pending charges, according to 20th Judicial District Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Susan Weaver, and will likely remain in custody until disposition of all charges. A motion to revoke McCool’s probation, which was set after her conviction for seven drug-and-firearm-related charges in 2002, has been filed, Weaver said.
(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached at 505-1238 or by E-mail at email@example.com. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)