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JBLM soldier pleads not guilty to impersonating officer in dealings with prostitutes

Post by Alexis Krell / The News Tribune on Oct. 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
October 18, 2012 5:17 pm

A Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier pleaded not guilty today to charges he impersonated a police officer in conversations with two prostitutes and unlawfully detained one of the women in his vehicle.

Pierce County prosecutors charged Sylvester Haliburton, 27, with two counts of first-degree criminal impersonation and one count of first-degree unlawful imprisonment. Bail was set at $75,000.

According to charging documents:

A known prostitute told police she opened a man’s car door Oct. 8, at which point he flashed a badge, showed a gun and said: “Tacoma police, get in the car, don’t make a scene.”

Believing the man was an officer, the woman got into the car and the man called for backup on a walkie talkie.

He told the woman, “I was gonna take you to jail, but I like you tonight.”

He asked her where to find underage girls and said he was “working with the MPs.”

She lied and gave and location.

Then he told her he wouldn’t take her to jail if she gave him oral sex for free.

When they got to the area the woman said there were underage girls, she fled.

She gave police a description of the man and the car, and said she had seen him driving Pacific Avenue several times. The car had a Department of Defense sticker on the windshield, she said.

Another woman told police a man approached her Oct. 14 near the 9000 block of Pacific Avenue and agreed to pay her $80 for sex. They pulled into a parking lot and he said he was an undercover officer. He showed her a gold star-shaped badge, and said he would call for backup if she caused problems.

When she called his bluff and tried to get out of the car, he grabbed her wrists and pulled her back inside, the woman said. She told him she had several children, one with epilepsy, and he apologized and gave her $50.

He said he was looking for a pimp who raped his niece.

As she left, he pulled out what looked like a handgun and told her he could hurt her if he wanted, she reported.

She gave police an identification card she got from the man, which identified Haliburton as part of the army. Police found him on base and arrested him.

He told investigators that he gave a girl a ride, but denied that anything else happened.

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