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Spinning A Virus Story

Jamestown man impersonates deputy, invokes pandemic to get out of work

A Jamestown, N.Y., man faces allegations that he impersonated a sheriff’s deputy — and spun in the COVID-19 pandemic — in a ploy to get out of going to work.

Christopher M. Hawkins, 46, 120 Fulton St., was charged by City of Warren police on Wednesday.

He faces two misdemeanor counts — impersonating a public servant and disorderly conduct.

According to the affidavit of probable cause, police were contacted by the HR manager at Targeted Pet Treats on May 16 with a report that the day before “a person identifying themselves as a Chautauqua County Sheriff’s detective contacted her with disturbing news.”

The manager explained that someone called and identified themselves as “Detective Tommy Hatcher.”

The affidavit explains that the supposed detective reported to a receptionist that Hawkins’ wife “had just tested positive for COVID-19 and he needed to leave work to get tested and self-quarantine.”

The HR manager returned the call and the person who answered the phone identified themselves as Detective Hatcher.

The detective shared the same information again and explained a need to contact Hawkins “because he had four children and someone needed to be home with them.”

The safety/wellness corner and the president of the company “all made contact with the defendant and advised him of the phone call advising him he needed to leave and take care of this issue. They also asked that he contact them with the results so anyone at the plant who was around him could be informed.”

Subsequent attempts by the company to reach Hawkins were unsuccessful.

“Targeted Pet Treats began the process of stopping production in the area the defendant was working, cleaning and rearranging the work space,” police allege in the affidavit.

“The cleaning and rearranging of equipment went into the evening with that production being shut down.”

The company then reached out to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office “and learned that there was no detective, deputy or employee with the name Tommy Hatcher” and identified Hawkins’ cell phone number as the same number “found on the caller ID on the day and time the incident occurred.”

Police contacted Hawkins on May 20 at his residence and Hawkins told them “he didn’t know what was going on that day but was called into the parking lot of Targeted Pet Treats and told his wife was in the hospital and he needed to go home.”

He subsequently denied any wrongdoing.

Police allege, though, “through the investigation that the defendant’s phone was used to make the phone calls to Targeted Pet Treats. It was also found from witnesses that the defendant was attempting to leave work that day.”

Online court records indicate a preliminary hearing is scheduled in the case for July 1 at 9 a.m.

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