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New state law restricts bounty hunters who try to dress like police officers

The law was passed because a Red Wing bondsman confused people by wearing a police-like uniform.

Bounty hunters and bail bondsmen in Minnesota can no longer wear clothing that looks like a police uniform or use cars similar to law enforcement vehicles under a new state law that goes into effect July 1.

That means that they can’t wear uniforms that are the same color as law enforcement — blue, brown, green or maroon — and they can’t drive cars that are the same colors as police or sheriff’s cars, and their cars can’t have markings like “a police shield, star or any similar emblem that is typically associated with a marked law enforcement vehicle,” the law says.

This all comes because of complaints about Red Wing bounty hunter, Stew Peters, who’s been going around wearing a bullet-proof vest and gun belt. He even had southern Minnesota officers believing that he was a federal agent, according to the Rochester Post Bulletin.

State Sen. Matt Schmit of Red Wing pushed the bill, which has been  signed by the governor. He told the Rochester paper:

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“When you’ve got a fake badge and insignia that looks like the real McCoy, a normal person is going to assume you are a law enforcement officer.” 

Peters had been arrested in 1999 for impersonating an officer, but that charge was dropped in a plea agreement.

Peters was in the news during Gov. Jesse Ventura’s term: he apparently posed as a movie star’s son to befriend Ventura’s son, Tyrel. Peters even lived in the governor’s mansion for a while until the State Patrol determined that he was an imposter and kicked him out.