A Winnipeg man arrested after he was caught impersonating a Mountie at local crime scenes says time behind bars has convinced him to turn in his “badge.”
“These last two months in custody have really opened my eyes,” Thomas Hanaway told court Wednesday.
“The things I’ve seen in jail ... that’s not for me,” he said. “I’ve never been so scared as my first four weeks in there.”
The Crown is urging Judge Lee Ann Martin to sentence Hanaway to a further six months custody, arguing he “just doesn’t get it.” Hanaway has prior convictions for impersonating a police officer dating back to 1998 and 1982.
“Members of the public need to know if they encounter a person dressed as a police officer that they are a police officer,” said Crown attorney Shane Smith.
Hanaway — who is homosexual — told police he first donned the duds as part of a “role playing game” with sex partners, purchasing the paraphernalia over the Internet.
Court heard Hanaway was wearing an RCMP jacket when he attended a Main Street crime scene last December and offered city cops coffee and doughnuts. Hanaway returned an hour later with hamburgers for the officers.
He repeated the offerings at a crime scene a week later.
Hanaway’s actions didn’t raise suspicions until four days later when he dropped off doughnuts and Christmas cards at the District 3 city police station, identifying himself as Staff Sgt. Hanna of the Headingley RCMP detachment. Police arrested him later that day at his Cathedral Avenue home and seized a large amount of police paraphernalia, including jackets, caps, and badges.
Hanaway was released from custody and rearrested May 7 after city police caught him in Mountie duds at a William Avenue 7-Eleven store.
Hanaway was released and rearrested in October after he was spotted in Mountie gear at the Royal Canadian Legion in East St. Paul. At the time, Hanaway was under a court order not to attend the Legion after he was convicted of stealing a doctor’s prescription pad and forging prescriptions for several Legion customers.
Defence lawyer Scott Newman asked that Hanaway be allowed to serve any additional jail time on weekends or in the community as part of a conditional sentence, saying said he suffers from multiple sclerosis.
“What is the risk to the community?” he said. “That he is going to bring more doughnuts to police officers or send them more Christmas cards?”
Martin adjourned sentencing to Jan. 6.