Chambersburg man charged with impersonating an officer, attempted sexual extortion

29 August 2023- A Chambersburg area man is looking at multiple charges after he allegedly approached a vehicle in Shippensburg earlier this year acting as a cop, only to try to force himself on a victim. James Robert Martin is charged with two counts of misdemeanor impersonating a public servant, two counts of misdemeanor indecent assault, and felony attempted sexual extortion. Martin is free on an unsecured bail of $5,000.

Pennsylvania State Police in Carlisle were informed on February 1st by multiple victims of an assault during an incident earlier in the year. Troopers talked to two of the victims in the days that followed about the incident, which originally occurred on January 5th around 10:30pm and 11:30pm.

The victims allegedly told police they were sitting inside of their vehicle near the Shippensburg Little League’s Ripple Park on S Earl Street when they heard a man tap on the back, drivers-side window. That man, now identified by police as James Martin of Chambersburg, asked for the driver’s license and registration and informed the victims that he was a police officer. Assuming he was one, the man took the information back to his car where the victims allegedly heard radios in the background.

The man, whom police now believe to be Martin, allegedly gave the information back to the victims before opening the passenger side back door where one of the victims was seated. The fake cop reportedly grabbed her inner-right thigh and kissed her on the mouth. After this, he allegedly said if he could perform a sex act on her he would let them go with just a warning for trespassing.

The driver of the vehicle became upset, trying to get out of the vehicle to confront the phony officer but the other victim held him back, still believing he was a real officer. Nonetheless, the victims drove away from the incident, with the phony cop fleeing as well but not following them. Expecting a summons for trespassing, the victims waited a month to report the crime to actual police.

Police performed a neighborhood canvas in the area of 220 S Earl Street when they made contact with a man who lived on the street. Already knowing about the incident, this man allegedly told them that he saw a Ford Explorer drive around suspiciously in the area before parking behind a shed. The man told police that his friend, James Martin, said he would tell the individuals to leave the area since they were trespassing. Martin allegedly called his friend five minutes later and told him that he talked to the people inside of the car but the other man didn’t know what happened in the interaction.

PSP Troopers talked to Martin over the phone on February 28th. After the Trooper identified himself and said he was investigating the incident, Martin, according to police, admitted to previously being charged with impersonating a public servant. Additionally, Martin reportedly said he’d want to speak with his lawyer before further questioning. Police were in contact with Martin’s lawyer, who said that he would speak with Martin about an interview concerning the incident but police note an interview between all parties never took place.

James Martin is free on an unsecured bail of $5,000. His preliminary hearing is set for November 1st.

Sources: Docket Number: MJ-09301-CR-0000266-2023, Incident No.: PA 2023-138483