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Parkersburg man arrested for impersonating a police officer

PARKERSBURG – A Parkersburg man was arrested for impersonating a police officer.

Mark Stephen Furner, 53, 1115 Homewood Road, Parkersburg, was arraigned on a charge of impersonating a police officer and being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

In the criminal complaint, dated July 28, on July 25 J.C. Wetzel of the Wood County Sheriff’s Department met with an individual at their office where the man detailed an encounter he had with Furner.

Between 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., a male subject that was not personally known to the individual pulled into his driveway on Kesterson Road in Parkersburg while he was cutting grass and displayed a badge, according to court documents..

In moving towards the vehicle, the resident advised he positioned himself cautiously because he feared the man had a gun based on his body language “and further that he could tell the man was ‘crazy’ due to his demeanor,” according to the criminal complaint.

The individual spoke with the man who identified himself as Mark Furner.

“As the conversation continued (the individual) advised that Mark claimed to have data, video and other information for an FBI agent who lived or used to live on Kesterson Rd.,” the complaint said. ”(The individual) advised that Mark Furner was looking for a Sheila Hardman who Mark believed was in the FBI.

”Mark spoke of a murder investigation that he indicated he was assisting with.”

The individual advised he was not forthcoming with Furner’s questions because Furner appeared to be asking questions that would be unusual for a legitimate investigator, according to the criminal complaint.

The individual described the encounter as bizarre and tried to end the conversation because he thought Furner was “crazy,” according to the criminal complaint. The individual has interacted with both law enforcement and people with mental health issues on multiple occasions in the past through his own work, according to court documents

The court documents stated that although he was not a medical professional, the individual stated it was obvious Furner was experiencing cognitive issues due to his rambling disjointed speech pattern.

The individual tried to end the conversation again and Furner displayed the police badge a second time, the criminal complaint said.

The badge was described as a 2-3 inch tall police badge with “Ravenswood Police Department” engraved on it.

The individual asked Furner if he was a police officer.

”Instead of answering directly Mark Furner began listing names of other police officers he had worked with previously and stated he used to work for Mayor (Bob) Newell,” the criminal complaint said. ”Mark Furner continued questioning (the individual), but laid the badge on the front passenger seat so that it continued to be displayed.”

Furner began asking questions about the individual’s neighbors and stated he knew the neighbors drive the same type of vehicle as the FBI agent he needs to speak to, court documents stated.

The individual stated he feared for his safety because Furner was insistent on contacting the FBI agent. The individual asked why other investigators have not been by or why a murder investigation was not covered by the local news to which Furner became evasive again, according to court documents.

According to the criminal complaint, Furner left a note with the individual that included his name and telephone number he could be reached at. The note said, “I have data & info that includes video/record of poss murder & meth manufacturing in the area behind 1115 Homewood Road & also Feel Person was killed in area.”

On July 28, deputies with the Wood County Sheriff’s Department responded to Furner’s home to serve an arrest warrant and a search warrant, according to a separate criminal complaint relating to the charge of a prohibited person in possession of a firearm.

During the search of the residence, two semi-automatic handguns were located in a safe in Furner’s bedroom, a Lorcin .380 and a Smith and Wesson .40 caliber as well as ammunition, court documents said.

Furner was convicted of domestic battery in February 2016 in Wood County Magistrate Court, according to court records.

Furner was released on $1,000 bond.

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