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Man accused of police impersonation

A convicted sex offender from West Seneca was operating an unlicensed security company under the guise of being a police officer, state police said.

James J. Lewis, 46, of Alma Drive, was arrested Tuesday. Police said he had several items that led people to believe he was a police officer, including:

*A bulletproof vest with "POLICE" on the back.

*A badge with "Special Police" on it.

*A forged New York State security guard license.

*Special patches and "Police" and "Lieutenant" collar brass for uniforms.

*Two gun belts that contained handcuffs, pepper spray, a stun gun and police baton. One of the gun belts held a starter pistol and the other, a BB gun.

Lewis was charged with two counts of felony possession of a weapon, felony possession of a forged instrument, criminal impersonation, possession of noxious materials and operating as an unlicensed security guard.

Lewis was operating his unregistered security company under the name First Response Law Enforcement, police said.

Lewis was convicted of felony first-degree sexual abuse in January 2001, according to the state's sex offender registry. The two victims were girls, ages 3 and 8, according to the registry.

While state police listed a West Seneca address as Lewis' place of residence, the sex offender registry listed his residence on Seneca Street near the Larkin at Exchange building.

Lewis was arraigned in Buffalo City Court on Wednesday and is in Erie County Holding Center in lieu of $250,000 bail. His next court appearance is at 2 p.m. Monday, police said.

e-mail: cspecht@buffnews.com

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