SANTA CLARITA (CBSLA.com) — Three individuals claiming to be part of the "Masonic Fraternal Police Department" and descendants of the Knights Templar have been arrested on suspicion of impersonating peace officers.
Chiefs of a number of law enforcement agencies throughout Southern California were suspicious when they began receiving letters from the "MFPD," advising that David Henry had been elected as the department's chief.
Many of those letters were followed with calls from an individual, identifying himself as "Chief Deputy Director Brandon Kiel," requesting meetings with the chief of each local agency.
One such meeting took place between members of the MFPD and Capt. Roosevelt Johnson of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station. The latter grew more suspicious when the group was unable to answer basic questions about the MFPD's jurisdiction and the overall mission of their department.
The group maintained their claimed legitimacy, claiming that they were descendants of the Knights Templar and that their police agency had been in existence for 3,000 years. They then went on to claim that MFPD had sovereign jurisdiction in 33 states, as well as in Mexico.
After an investigation by detectives from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, it was determined that the MFPD was not a legitimate police agency.
Detectives along with deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station and the Sheriff's Special Enforcement Bureau served search and arrest warrants in the 28000 block of Linda Vista Street and the 17000 block of Sierra Highway on April 29 in Santa Clarita.
Three individuals were arrested, including David Henry, 46; Tonette Hayes, 56; and Brandon Kiel, 36.
Badges, identification cards, weapons, uniforms and police-type vehicles were all recovered during searches of both locations.
Henry, who is a resident of Santa Clarita, was arrested for Perjury Under Oath and Impersonating a Peace Officer. Hayes, also a Santa Clarita resident, was arrested for Impersonating a Peace Officer. Kiel, of Los Angeles, was arrested for Impersonating a Peace Officer and Misuse of a Government Identification.
"I always see them with their uniforms, so I thought they were part of any department, I didn't know it was a fake one," Henry's neighbor Sherry Elgabalawy said.
Detectives suspect the three individuals were looking to deceive the community and trying to pass as law enforcement officials. Police also suspect other individuals may also be involved.
Authorities are asking that anyone with further information to contact the LA County Sheriff's Department's Emergency Operations Bureau - Sheriff's Intelligence Unit, Detective Amalia Hernandez, at (323) 980-2211. Anonymous tips may be provided by calling "Crime Stoppers" at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or over their website here.
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