Newmarket man charged with impersonating police officer on SeacoastBy JAMES A. KIMBLE
Union Leader Correspondent
December 03. 2013 8:30PM
HAMPTON — A man charged with impersonating a police officer while pulling over women in three Seacoast towns told police that his penchant for acting like a cop led him to stopping cars in several New Hampshire towns and highways in Massachusetts and Maine, according to a police report.
Michael Heath, 42, of Newmarket, is facing three felony counts of false personation for using a badge and blue light in his 2005 Buick Century to stop women driving in Stratham, Epping and Hampton between Nov. 9, 2012, and Sept. 8.
He was arrested a fourth time on Nov. 18 by Newmarket police for violating his bail conditions after being caught driving along Exeter Road at 10:03 p.m.
Heath was driving the same car he allegedly used in the other incidents, according to police affidavits. The car bears the vanity plate DFIANT. He is now being held at the Rockingham County jail.
His latest arrest happened three days after a circuit court judge freed him on bail.
A police report detailing the investigation into Heath by area police became public last Tuesday after Heath waived his probable cause hearing in the Hampton case.
Heath told police during a Sept. 13 interview that he has also stopped motorists in Newfields, Hampton Falls, Newington, Portsmouth, Kittery, Maine and along Interstate 495 in Massachusetts, according to court records. He also claimed to stop cars along the Spaulding Turnpike in New Hampshire and along Route 95 in Maine.
Heath has not been charged in those cases.
During his interview with police, Heath told investigators that he started interacting with motorists by honking his horn at driver’s he thought were speeding “or during road rage encounters,” according to a police report.
Heath told police that he then began flashing a military police badge, but later said he had been using a blue-light application on his smartphone to carry out vehicle stops.
“Mr. Heath acknowledged that he has been escalating his actions,” Hampton police Detective Christopher Gilroy said in a report.
Public defenders had initially struck a plea deal with prosecutors that would have sent Heath to jail for 90 days as part of a largely deferred one year sentence. He also would also have been required to undergo a sex offender evaluation and remain on probation for two years, records say.
County prosecutors recently backed away from that deal, and are now preparing to present the case to a Rockingham County grand jury for possible indictment, court records say.
Hampton police initially arrested Heath for pulling over a woman along Route 101 east near Route 1 about 10:03 p.m. The woman, who became suspicious of Heath’s appearance, asked Heath for the motor vehicle stop to be done at the police station. Heath agreed to go to the police station, but then turned around and drove off, prompting the woman to call Hampton police, the report says.
The arrest in Hampton triggered charges being filed against Heath in Stratham and Epping for the earlier cases.