Robert Joseph Coelho

Robert Coelho

Police had a relatively quiet Fourth of July stretch in Butte from Wednesday through early Friday, but one arrest stood out: a man dressed in all black claiming to be an ATF agent and then a police officer.

As of late Friday morning, the man’s name was still “John Doe” because he gave a false name and officers had not yet determined his true identity. But by noon, through tattoos and other records checks, he was identified as 35-year-old Robert Joseph Coelho of California.

Police say he was yelling in someone’s backyard in the 100 block of Clinton Street around 6:45 p.m. Thursday and then knocked on the back door of a house. When a man answered, Coelho told him he was an agent with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and had a warrant for the resident’s arrest.

Coelho left, but a short time later knocked on the door of a nearby house in the 2500 block of South Main Street. He first told that resident he was armed, then said he was wanted, then said he was a police officer.

“He gave them several stories at the Main Street location,” Undersheriff George Skuletich said. “I don’t know what his purpose was.”

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Police spotted him in the area and caught him after a short foot chase. Officers think he was under the influence of drugs and they did find something on him that appeared to be heroin, but need a crime lab analysis to confirm that. He also had a marijuana pipe.

He was booked on a felony complaint of impersonating a public servant and misdemeanor complaints of obstructing a peace officer, resisting arrest and possessing drug paraphernalia. He was still in jail as of late Friday morning.

There were several other arrests over the holiday stretch, including two for drunken driving and some for outstanding warrants, but Skuletich said it was relatively uneventful for a Fourth of July period.

There were lots of fireworks complaints but no big fires, according to the Butte-Silver Bow Fire Department. They did respond to one dumpster fire near the Pita Pit on Montana Street.

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