Cop impersonator blames self-esteem for crimes

(JIM WELLS /QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)

(JIM WELLS /QMI AGENCY FILE PHOTO)

Dean Pritchard, Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 8:28 PM ET

WINNIPEG -- A man convicted for the fourth time of impersonating a police officer has been sentenced to four-and-a-half months in jail.

Thomas Hanaway blamed his troubles on poor self-esteem.

"I'm extremely sorry for putting the police through all of this," he told court last week. "I didn't think using my pen name ... would hurt anything but I see that it has."

Hanaway -- whose first conviction for impersonating a police officer dates back to 1982 -- claimed he has learned the error of his ways and pleaded with Judge Tim Killeen not to send him to jail.

"How in the world am I to accept you aren't going to do it (again)?" Killeen said. "What makes it so bizarre is that you would continue to do something where apparently the motivation is just to feel a higher level of self-esteem... Jail is the only way to impress upon you that this can't continue."

Hanaway, 55, pleaded guilty to three counts of impersonating a police and one count of breaching a court order he not access Facebook and other social networking sites.

Court heard Hanaway maintained a Facebook page claiming to be Staff Sgt. Tom Hanna of the RCMP, used the same name and title to correspond with U.S. police officials, and sent a sympathy card to the widow of a U.S. police officer killed in the line of duty.

Hanaway had 4,000 Facebook friends, nearly 400 of them cops unaware of his true identity.

Last year, he was sentenced to 60 days in jail after he admitted attending two crime scenes dressed as a police officer. He was rearrested twice after police spotted him in public wearing a Mountie uniform.

dean.pritchard@sunmedia.ca

Twitter: deanatwpgsun


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