Man faces felony charge after mistaking undercover officer for porch pirate, police say

Undercover police officer mistaken for porch pirate

INDIANAPOLIS (WXIN/CNN) – An Indiana man on the lookout in his neighborhood is now facing a federal criminal confinement charge after allegedly confronting an undercover police officer.

The plainclothes officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department found himself confronted by the homeowner last week as he was searching for a suspect wanted for a homicide in a south-side neighborhood, police said.

According to an affidavit, Scott Strother, the suspect, used his SUV to block the officer’s car and then confronted the officer with his hand on a pistol in his pocket, because he thought the officer was on his street stealing packages that had been delivered.

"He had no intent on, like, threatening an officer, obviously," Strother’s wife said.

Prosecutors claim the undercover officer activated the red and blue lights on his visor and ordered the suspect to get back in his car, but Strother’s wife claims the officer didn’t identify himself until backup officers arrived, leading to a misunderstanding that turned criminal.

"Now we have felony charges against my husband? That's really kind of ridiculous. I mean, he's a standup guy. He's a Boy Scout leader," she said.

Jack Crawford, an attorney who isn’t connected to the case, said he doesn’t understand why the felony charge was even filed.

"It sounds to me like he's a citizen with a handgun permit, with some prior military training, who was just trying to protect his family and his neighborhood. And it didn't escalate to a point of where he drew his weapon," Crawford said.

According to court records, police told Strother: “He could not legally stop and detain persons that he viewed as suspicious.”

But Strother said he “felt he had done nothing wrong … [and] he would do whatever he needed to do to protect his neighborhood.”

Strother’s wife said her husband is out of town, but plans to turn himself into police once he returns.

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