Second man accused of dressing up like cop, searching for escapee in Derry |

Second man accused of dressing up like cop, searching for escapee in Derry

Paul Peirce

A second man is charged with dressing like a police officer while purportedly searching for an escaped convict in Derry over the weekend.

Michael James, 24, is charged with impersonating a public servant and loitering and prowling at night in connection with the incident on Sunday.

James is the older brother of Matthew Joseph James, 19, of Derry, who was arrested Sunday on the same charges and an additional charge of fleeing from police.

Police started investigating when an officer’s wife told her husband that two men dressed like police were on bicycles on West Third Street, shining flashlights in the windows of her home, according to court papers.

Officer David Marghella went to the neighborhood and found the brothers at their Owens Street apartment.

They told Marghella they had been wearing police costumes earlier, including police hats and plastic badges, court documents said. The pair told police they were looking for an escaped convict from Ohio, who had been seen in Westmoreland County.

Matthew James allegedly sneaked out of the house through a window after being given permission by the officer to use the restroom, police said. Marghella used the other suspect’s phone to call James and convinced him to come back and turn himself in.

Matthew James remains in the Westmoreland County Prison after failing to post $5,000 bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 9. His brother was awaiting arraignment on the charges.

Christopher Clemente, an escaped inmate from an Ohio jail, was spotted in Westmoreland County Sunday.

He was seen in surveillance footage from the Sheetz on Route 22 in New Alexandria and at Westmoreland Mall, which was evacuated Sunday afternoon.

Clemente and three other escapees were found and arrested Monday in North Carolina.

Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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