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Police: Panhandler claimed to be trooper in Latrobe

| Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A Latrobe man who was panhandling outside a city business threatened the shop's owner and claimed to be a state trooper, police allege.

A city business owner told Latrobe Officer Michael Wigand that two men had been panhandling in front of his Main Street store for four weeks and he watched on Friday as they approached a woman in a city parking lot to solicit money.

About 2:45 p.m., the business owner confronted the men and asked one to quit harassing his customers.

One of the alleged panhandlers, identified as Kevin Cunningham, 51, in court papers, threatened to hit the store owner and claimed to be a state police trooper.

The store owner contacted Westmoreland 911.

“Dispatchers asked that (the owner) ascertain what barracks Cunningham (was) stationed out of,” Wigand wrote in an affidavit of probable cause.

Cunningham claimed to be based in the “Delmont barracks,” Wigand wrote.

There is no state police station in Delmont.

When questioned by police, Cunningham was “visibly intoxicated” and unable to stand without help from officers, according to the affidavit. Cunningham denied identifying himself as a state trooper to Wigand but said, “I have family that are police officers.”

Cunningham is charged with impersonating a public servant, harassment and public drunkenness. A summons has been issued and a Jan. 22 preliminary arraignment is scheduled before District Judge Michael Mahady.

A phone number could not be located for Cunningham and he did not have an attorney listed in online court records.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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