Police try to unravel mystery of man with huge stash of fake IDs

Tuesday, August 7, 2012 - 8:00am

Police in Florida are trying to solve a mystery surrounding a man arrested with an enormous stash of fake military, law enforcement and medical paraphernalia including federal badges, police radios and even a full NASA flight suit and helmet.

In all, Roy Antigua had about 200 suspicious items when he was arrested this month, said James Steffens, chief of the New Port Richey Police Department.

The cache found in Antigua's two homes and Cadillac Escalade included diplomatic license plates and dozens of fake identification cards from the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Defense, CIA and NASA. The suspect also had access badges to hospitals around Florida, doctor and nurse scrubs, a respiratory technician badge, police blue lights and access stickers to Coast Guard bases around Florida, Steffens said.

Authorities are wondering if Antigua, 52, was a frequent guest at costume parties or if he was hatching something sinister.

"We need to know from start to finish: 'Who is Roy Antigua? What have been his activities and behaviors?' So we can verify that we have a problem or we can confirm that there isn't a problem," Steffens said at a news conference Monday. "We want to know if he is a threat or is he living a very active fantasy life."

Police arrested Antigua in the coastal Florida city of New Port Richey on August 1 for violation of parole and a traffic offense. But that was not the first dealings authorities had had with the mysterious man, Steffens told reporters.

In May, Steffens said he met Antigua at a memorial ceremony and he was wearing the blue uniform of a lieutenant commander of the U.S. Coast Guard. Antigua introduced himself to Steffens as a member of the Coast Guard and asked questions about the ceremony.

Steffens said he saw Antigua again when he was being arrested on August 1.

When he was in custody, an officer noticed that the identification card Antigua provided seemed strange and had plastic where it shouldn't have been. This launched the investigation that led to the stash, Steffens said.

During questioning, Antigua admitted that he had fabricated most of the credentials and items that police seized, Steffens said.

The only legitimate identification was a badge identifying Antigua as a member of the Coast Guard auxiliary, a volunteer group.

Authorities have confirmed that Antigua is not a Coast Guard officer and was an imposter when he approached Steffens at the memorial ceremony in May.

"It kind of gives you a little bit of a scare," Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco said at the news conference. "We just want to know what this individual has been involved in. Has he been committing crimes? What kind of individual would want to dress up like this? That is why we need the public's help."

New Port Richey police are asking anyone with information on Antigua to call 727-841-4553.

CNN's John Branch contributed to this report.

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