A retired Pennsylvania state police trooper has been charged with portraying himself as an officer when he approached some residents of the Poets Village apartment complex in search of a woman just before midnight Dec. 15.
An investigator from the Greensburg barracks, headquarters of the four-county Troop A region, filed a complaint Thursday charging Timothy Lipniskis, 52, of North Sixth Street, Indiana, with a misdemeanor count of impersonating a public servant and a summary count of harassment.
Samantha Rosas, Lynette Bailey and Devon Bailey called for troopers from the Indiana station to report that a man knocked on the door at their residence at 404 Whittier Drive at 11:50 p.m. and told them he was looking for a woman who wasn’t familiar to them.
The man at the door said he was with the state police and retrieved a gold badge from his vehicle when the residents asked for proof.
Cpl. Timothy Culler, who took over the investigation after Lipniskis emerged as the suspected stranger, wrote the affidavit accompanying the charges.
The Whittier Drive residents reported that the stranger left after they advised him that they had called the state police, Culler reported.
Two other Poets Village residents, Bethany Hilty and John Pierce, told investigators that a stranger pulled up about 11 p.m. and sat in a car near their homes for several minutes while they stood outside talking, according to the report.
The man climbed from the vehicle, a Toyota FJ Cruiser, and told them that he was with the state police and looking for someone in the area.
The stranger told them his name was Timothy Joseph, according to the complaint.
The Poets Village residents consistently described the stranger as having short spiked hair and wearing faded jeans, a dark coat over a white sweater and dress shoes.
“I swear I used to see him driving around in a gold unmarked police car in a suit,” Devon Bailey told investigators.
All selected Lipniskis’ photo from a choice of photos presented to them, Culler wrote.
Lipniskis told Culler that he had gone to Poets Village at the invitation of a woman whom he had socialized with earlier at a downtown Indiana tavern, and said that the exact address escaped his memory. According to the complaint, Lipniskis acknowledged that he showed a state police badge to Lynette Bailey, but only because she requested it.
“Lipniskis advised that if the lady never said to show identification, he never would have gone back to his vehicle to show her his badge. He only did it to put her at ease,” Culler wrote.
Culler reported in the affidavit that he asked Lipniskis if he might have slipped and said he was a trooper.
“He replied, ‘yeah, maybe I could have slipped but I never acted in the capacity,’” Culler wrote.
Online court records show a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 19 in Indiana District Court before Judge Guy Haberl. The record doesn’t identify an attorney representing Lipniskis.