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Man who impersonated police in scams arrested

Published on -7/25/2013, 7:07 AM

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VINITA, Okla. -- A man accused of impersonating law enforcement officers as part of a scam to cash phony checks and pass bad checks in Kansas, Missouri, Colorado and Oklahoma has been arrested in northeastern Oklahoma, according to the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Robert Helms, 46, of Pittsburg, Kan., was arrested Wednesday in Vinita when a clerk at a Wal-Mart store called police after recognizing one of the aliases Helms was known to use.

Online jail records show that Helms was being held in the Craig County, Okla., jail Wednesday. No attorney was listed for him.

Kansas authorities told WIBW television that Helms started his scam in early January, paying for purchases with bogus checks, trying to cash fake pay checks and pretending to be a law enforcement officer by displaying a badge and weapon if questions were asked about the checks.

Authorities said the phony payroll checks were allegedly from the Adams County Sheriff's Office, which doesn't exist in Kansas, and the Meade County Sheriff's Office in southwest Kansas.

Helms also allegedly used numerous aliases and stole the identity of Senior Special Agent Steve Bundy with the KBI, the agent leading the investigation.

"I now have an enhanced compassion for victims having become one myself," Bundy told WIBW. "It really gives you a different perspective as a law enforcement officer. Identity theft is so prolific in society and we sometimes fail to see how damaging it is until you become one yourself."

He said Helms used his name out of spite.

Helms previously called Bundy, Bundy said, to say that he knew he was being pursued and that he would be staying on the run and continue committing crimes until he was caught.

Vinita Police Chief Bobby Floyd told television station KWCH that Helms had been staying at motel in Vinita for at least a couple of days before his Tuesday night arrest.

"It's almost as if he was relieved to be caught," Floyd said.

Floyd said motel employees told him that Helms claimed he was a police officer from out of town.

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