BOSTON — Former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown's brother has been charged with impersonating a police officer after authorities say he stopped boaters off the Connecticut coast and had a bulletproof vest with a Transportation Security Administration badge attached to it.
Bruce W. Browne, 47, of Wolcott, stopped three vessels on Long Island Sound on Thursday and asked boaters for their registrations and safety certificates, state police said Friday. In his car, Browne had three loaded handguns, handcuffs and the vest, which was marked "police" and had the TSA badge attached, authorities said.
“It’s troubling. It’s serious charges. He’s going to have to certainly answer to them,” Brown told 7News as he was vacationing in Rye, N.H. Friday. “I haven’t seen him or spoken to him since my Dad’s funeral. That was over Christmas.”
“We’re not very close. That’s just the way it is. We kind of have a broken family,” Brown said told 7News.
Scott Brown said he was estranged from Browne, who has a different mother.
"As you many of you know, my mom and my late father were married and divorced four times each," Brown wrote on his Facebook page. "Unfortunately, we were not close as a family. These are serious charges and he will need to answer them. I feel badly for his children and I am thankful that no one was injured."
Browne also was charged with breach of peace, interfering with a police officer and possession of a dangerous weapon. He was released on $50,000 bond and is due back in court on Aug. 22.
Police say a resident reported that a man wearing military-type clothing was walking with a gun in Old Lyme and was seen earlier in the day with a vehicle that looked like a police car.
Police later found a blue Ford Crown Victoria. Browne, wearing blue pants, said he owned the vehicle and admitted he had been walking with a black nylon gun belt with a loaded pistol in the holster, police said.
“The first thing [to seeing the photo of the evidence] was like wow. The second thing is, I don’t know what’s licensed and what’s not. I don’t know if he has permits or not. Like I said, he hasn’t been in contact with me and certainly we have a very strange relationship,” said Brown.
Police say Browne had commandeered a boat by identifying himself as a "police Coast guard official." Browne also had an expired Coast Guard identification card, which had been issued to him when he was a reserve member of the Coast Guard.
Browne is not presently affiliated with the Coast Guard or TSA, police said.
Coast Guard officials are investigating similar incidents, police said.
Brown said he had no idea what his half brother was up to, but he’s glad no one was hurt.
“I’m just so thankful that apparently it doesn’t look like there was any violence or anything, no one was hurt,” Brown told 7News.
In 2010, Brown was a Republican state senator when he upset Democratic state Attorney General Martha Coakley in the election to replace the late Sen. Edward Kennedy. Brown lost the seat in November to Democrat Elizabeth Warren.
Brown told 7News, in the next couple of weeks he will decide if he plans to run for governor.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.