Vincent Richardson, the teen who passed himself off as a police officer at age 14, pleaded guilty to impersonating a police officer and was given 18 months in state prison today, according to court records.
Richardson, 19, made national headlines when he was able to pass himself off as a police officer at 14, pleaded guilty before Criminal Court Judge Lauren Gottainer Edidin, according to court records. In July, he had tried to pass himself off as an Englewood District police officer when he tried to buy police equipment at uniform store.
Richardson, of the 6300 block of South Marshfield Avenue, pleaded guilty to a felony count of impersonating a police officer and was fined $454 and given credit for 106 days he has spent in Cook County Jail. He had faced up to three years behind bars.
He was arrested the afternoon of July 23 soon after he walked into the VCG Uniform store in the 5000 block of West Irving Park Road posing as a cop, according to the Cook County state's attorney's office.
Richardson was trying to buy a duty belt, cargo shorts, pants and a shirt at the store at which he was detained, said Asstistant Cook County State’s Attorney Erin Antonietti.Richardson was dressed in dark blue cargo pants resembling what Chicago officers wear, according to a police report. He identified himself as an Englewood District police officer, presented his driver's license and told the clerk he was interested in trying on some cargo shorts and a duty belt, according to the report.
The clerk grew suspicious after Richardson kept repeating that he was an officer who worked in Englewood, and discovered during an Internet search that he had been arrested on charges of impersonating a Chicago police officer in 2009, the report said.
When the worker returned to the front counter, Richardson had disappeared but left behind his wallet containing the license, several debit cards and other IDs with his name on them.
When he returned – after the clerk Googled his name – he was arrested, said Antonietti."I know what it's like to be one of you," Richardson told officers, according to police. "I respect you because I did it for a day chasing and helping people. My intentions are never to hurt people, just to help."
When he was detained police found a receipt that showed he had already bought a police "badge" and neckholder, according to prosecutors. Chicago police are issued stars.
Despite his age, Richardson was so convincing in 2009 that he went on patrol with a real officer for more than five hours on the South Side.
Two years after his arrest while impersonating a police officer, Richardson, then 17, was charged as an adult when police said they found a gun and fake badge on him. He has a prior felony conviction from 2011 of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. He served in juvenile corrections for stealing a car and for domestic battery.