BOSTON, Nov. 7, 2007—A Lynn man was held on a total of $31,000 cash bail today after his arrest for allegedly robbing people while claiming to be a police detective, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley announced.ANTHONY T. BURNEY, 32 (D.O.B. 6/28/75), was charged with two counts of unarmed robbery and single counts of impersonating a police officer, kidnapping, and larceny over $250 at his arraignment today in the Boston Municipal Court. The charges stem from three incidents in the downtown area dating back to early October, Conley said.
On the evening of Nov. 2, Burney allegedly approached a 22-year-old Walpole man and his 20-year-old girlfriend as they were parked near West and Mason streets. After identifying himself as “Detective Johnson,” Burney allegedly said he knew the victim had an outstanding warrant for “conspiracy to distribute drugs.” Burney then allegedly took a total of $203 in cash from the man, told him to spread his legs and frisked him, and ran away into the Boston Common.
The next night, Burney allegedly approached a group of five men who were drinking beer in the grassy area near the intersection of Charlesgate East and Ipswich Street. After flashing what appeared to be a badge and again proclaiming himself to be a police detective, the men said, he told them they could get in trouble for drinking in public.
“I don’t want to bust your balls,” Burney allegedly said, “so just cooperate and I’ll see what I can do.”
Burney then ordered the men to spread their legs and stand against the wall, they later told police. Burney allegedly demanded their wallets – from which he took a total of about $350 and two driver’s licenses – and took three men’s cell phones.
After robbing them, Burney allegedly ordered one of the men, a 38-year-old Fitchburg resident, to come with him on foot while the others remained at the scene. That victim described a long and bizarre trip marked by numerous left and right turns during which Burney occasionally pushed him along, called him “Ozzie,” and made him hold Burney’s jacket.
“I know some of your buddies have drugs on them,” Burney allegedly told the victim. “Give them up and I won’t arrest you.”
Burney also allegedly made the victim touch an open wound on Burney’s right forearm. The victim described it as “a gash, it was a flap of skin with pus coming out … but it wasn’t actively bleeding.”
At some point, the men boarded an MBTA Green Line train, disembarked, and boarded another, finally exiting at Boylston Station. Burney allegedly ordered the victim to remain there and gave him back the three cell phones.
“I have to go run some license plates,” Burney said by way of explanation.
In addition to these incidents, Burney was also charged today with the Oct. 3 theft of a number of shirts from the Newbury Street Niketown store, valued at about $1500.
Burney was arrested late yesterday after several victims picked his photograph out of arrays presented to them by real Boston Police detectives.
“Bizarre as these incidents may seem, they show that certain individuals will exploit people’s trust in law enforcement,” Conley said. “Fortunately, none of these victims were hurt.”
Burney is represented by attorney Arnold Cohen. He will return to court on Dec. 4.
Those who impersonate police officers erode the public’s trust in law enforcement and may endanger unsuspecting people. There are several tips you can remember to protect yourself during a traffic stop while helping your police officers do their jobs.
• Make sure it is a marked police unit. If it is not a marked unit, the emergency lights should be built in and are usually not a temporary light placed on the vehicle.
• Try to stop in a well-lit area or a location where there are a lot of people present.
• Turn on your emergency flashers but don’t turn off your car.
• Do not get out of the vehicle to meet the officer. Officers usually don’t like this anyway.
• Lock your door.
• Look for a uniform, official department jacket, and other equipment used by police officers for the performance of their duties.
• If the officer is in plainclothes, look for identifying clothing and equipment. If unsure, explain to the “officer” that you are unsure about the situation and ask them to display official department identification and badge. Ask where they work and if you can contact their dispatch center to confirm their identity. You may also request a marked patrol unit respond.

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