Joseph Christoph Moore swears he is not the phony cop who said he was searching (but was actually groping) women in the Hollywood area in November.
At least that's the takeaway from the 40-year-old Anaheim man pleading not guilty in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday to impersonating a police officer and fondling two women in separate incidents.
Of course, Moore's defense could also be not guilty by reason of insanity, so we'll see.
On Nov. 24, a man fitting Moore's description approached a woman searching for her keys in the 6100 block of De Longpre Avenue, according to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).
The stranger whipped out a badge and identification, told the woman to get against a wall, "searched" her while fondling her breasts and buttocks, pulled a handgun from his waistband and warned her he would shoot her if she screamed before fleeing the scene, the LAPD says.
On Nov. 30, a woman who had just gotten into her car parked in the 500 block of Kingsley Drive was alerted by a man fitting Moore's description pressing a badge against the driver-side window, telling the woman her registration was expired, ordering her out of the vehicle and having her open her trunk so he could search for weapons, the LAPD says.
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The supposed cop then ordered the woman against a wall for a pat-down search, during which he fondled her inner thighs and buttocks several times, according to the LAPD, which adds the victim believed the suspect had a gun holster on his hip.
Security video footage of the encounters were released through the media, which led to several tips that helped identify Moore as the suspect, the LAPD says. He was arrested on Dec. 8 and has been behind bars ever since. On Wednesday, LA Superior Court Judge Sergio C. Tapia II ordered Moore to remain jailed in lieu of $1.2 million bail pending a Feb. 16 hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to proceed to trial.
Moore pleaded not guilty to one felony count each of assault with intent to commit a felony, criminal threats and false imprisonment by violence, along with two misdemeanor counts of unlawful use of a badge and a misdemeanor count of sexual battery. The complaint also alleges personal use of a gun and prior convictions, according to Jane Robison of the LA County District Attorney's office.
A conviction could send him to state prison for life, Robison says.