Conn. EMT Arrested for Taking Pictures of Patients
Mar. 23—A Duxbury man arrested last year for amassing a collection of weapons at his family's home and claiming to be a Homeland Security agent is now accused of taking inappropriate images of patients while he was volunteering on an ambulance in Connecticut, where he had been attending school.
Police in Easton, Conn., say Christopher Barlow, 21, was arrested Wednesday on several new charges—including voyeurism and stealing a firearm—following an investigation by the FBI and police in Connecticut and Massachusetts. He was released after posting bond on $25,000 bail.
In addition to taking the ambulance pictures, Easton police said Barlow, a former volunteer with the Easton emergency medical services department, placed a hidden camera in the bathroom of the department's headquarters and stole two guns from a co-worker there. The guns were later seized from Barlow's family's home by Duxbury police.
Barlow's attorney, Michael Bergeron, said on Thursday that both the new and the old charges come from a period in 2017 when Barlow was experiencing auditory and visual hallucinations, which a judge's notes filed in Plymouth Superior Court indicate may have been the result of an anesthesia overdose in 2016. Bergeron said Barlow truly believed he was a law enforcement officer at the time.
"He was not able to distinguish reality from fantasy," he said.
Bergeron said Barlow experienced a "psychotic break" after he was arrested last year and spent several weeks at Bridgewater State Hospital under court order. After receiving treatment and medication there, Barlow was found competent by Judge Brian Davis last month and was released on $2,500 bail.
"He's on the right medications and you would not know it's the same person," Bergeron said.
Duxbury police began looking into Barlow last June after they were contacted by police in Easton about chemicals, ammunition and a gun case found in a storage locker at a fire station where Barlow was volunteering while at college. Police said Barlow's family refused to allow officers to search their home in Duxbury, but a family member later went to the police station and handed over a gun that they said belonged to Barlow.
Police said Barlow, who did not have a license to carry a firearm in Massachusetts, later went to the station himself and demanded to have the gun back, saying he was exempt from licensing requirements because he worked for the Department of Homeland Security. Police said Barlow showed officers a badge, which police determined was fraudulent after contacting Homeland Security and confirming he did not work for the agency.
Police said officers returned to Barlow's Duxbury home with a search warrant and seized two long guns, a handgun and parts to build additional firearms. They also found large-capacity magazines, boxes of ammunition, chemicals that could be used to make explosives and several stolen pieces of equipment, including hand-held radios, a defibrillator and medical bags full of supplies, police said.
Police in Connecticut said Barlow was carrying a stolen gas mask and a handgun with two loaded magazines at the time of his arrest there.
After his arraignment, Plymouth District Court Judge Lisa Edmonds ruled that Barlow could pose a danger to the public if released and ordered him held without being allowed to post bail. But after his stay at Bridgewater and a total of eight months in custody, Judge Davis ruled that Barlow no longer posed a danger and set his bail at $2,500, far below the $1 million sought by prosecutors.
As part of the orders of his release, Barlow was required to wear a GPS monitoring device and remain at a relative's home in Kingston, except to go to doctor's appointments. Prosecutors later claimed that Barlow had violated the conditions by going to a pair of malls, but late last month Judge Davis refused to revoke his bail.
After receiving the judge's decision, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz sent an alert to county police chiefs warning them about Barlow and later held a press conference at his office in Brockton. In response, Bergeron sought a gag order against prosecutors that was denied.
Bergeron said Barlow learned this week about the new charges out of Easton and was given permission by probation officials to drive to Connecticut with his father to be booked. He is due back in court in Connecticut on April 5 and in Plymouth County on May 3.