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Courthouse dasher posed as cop

Wayne Michael Trent was facing similar charges Monday when he fled a Justice Center courtroom
by: Courtesy of Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, Wayne Michael Trent, as shown in mug shots from his jail bookings on April 22 (left) and in 2001 (right) under the name Wayne Robert Skeen.

When Portland police arrested Wayne Michael Trent late Saturday night - not long before he would bolt from a Multnomah County courtroom, only to be brought down by a sheriff's deputy's Taser shock - he looked a bit like one of their own.

Local law enforcement officials said Trent wore a blue shirt that matched those worn by members of the Portland Police Bureau and uniform-style black pants. He had made a piece of plastic tubing to look like a radio earpiece. He carried a forged police identification card and a fake badge. And he drove a blue 2000 Ford Crown Victoria with strobe lights in the grille and a laptop installed near the center console similar to the mobile data terminals in Portland police cars.

But authorities say Trent, 23, was a fraud - and one with a history at that.

In 2001, Trent broke into the Multnomah County sheriff's office's Hansen Building in east Portland, stealing a sergeant's uniform, badge, body armor and a radio.

Then he went out on patrol. Gresham police even provided backup several times to cover him, authorities said.

He was caught and booked into jail under the name Wayne Robert Skeen, with a different birth date than Trent that would show Skeen to be two years older.

'I have spent the last 24 to 48 hours nailing that down, confirming 100 percent that they are the same person who we just had the incident with in the courtroom,' sheriff's office spokesman Lt. Jason Gates said. 'We wanted to be sure, and as you can tell, we had reason to be concerned about him.'

In the 2001 case, authorities charged Trent with criminal impersonation of an officer, burglary II, theft, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, trespassing and criminal impersonation, separate from the similar charge of dressing as an officer.

He was found 'guilty except insane' on the criminal impersonation of an officer and burglary charges. The rest were dismissed.

On Saturday, a Portland police officer saw what looked like an unmarked patrol car around 11 p.m. near North Cook Street and North Vancouver Avenue. The officer did not recognize the driver, so checked the government-issued plate.

It came back stolen. The officer pulled the car over and arrested Trent (watch KPTV video).

'Detectives described the suspect as clean, polite and well spoken,' police bureau spokesman Sgt. Brian Schmautz wrote in an e-mail to reporters, though nothing in the document named Trent.

He was being arraigned in this case on charges of criminal impersonation, possession of false police identification and identity theft when he ran from the courtroom just before being taken into custody (watch KPTV video). A sheriff's office deputy chased him into a hallway and shocked him with a Taser. Trent then fell to the ground and asked for his mother, sheriff's office officials said.

Portland police continue to investigate the case to see how often he may have dressed like - and acted with the authority of - an officer, and whether he committed more crimes in his interactions with citizens. Police ask anyone with information about Trent to call Detective Jeff Bender, 503-823-0871.

Related story:

Man tries brazen escape from Multnomah County courthouse