RALEIGH — A Durham man who interviewed U.S. Navy officer candidates, spoke to college students and was seen around town in the uniform of a Navy commander was in reality a civilian who bought his garb over the Internet, according to court documents in a criminal case.
Christopher E. Shrewsbury was indicted by a federal grand jury in U.S. District Court last week. He's charged with six counts stemming from his alleged impersonation of an officer of the U.S. Navy, with specific charges ranging from posing as an officer for a job interview to delivering a talk to Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Shrewsbury was freed on $50,000 bail. The phone number for his Durham home was disconnected.
His lawyer, federal public defender Eric Placke, declined to comment on Thursday.
According to a criminal complaint, Shrewsbury, 44, had once been in the Navy, but he received a bad conduct discharge in 1989 for unauthorized absence from his ship.
The complaint alleges that Shrewsbury impersonated a naval officer over a period of several years, gaining access to the United Services Organization lounge at Raleigh-Durham International Airport and even interviewing officer candidates at the U.S. Naval Recruiting Depot in Raleigh.
Agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service based at Camp Lejeune reported observing Shrewsbury leaving his Durham home dressed in the uniform of a Navy commander.
During an interview with an agent last month, the complaint says, Shrewsbury said he purchased a U.S. Navy uniform over the Internet in 2006 and wore it to job interviews. One count of the indictment charges him with impersonating a Navy officer when applying for a job with the Primrose Schools, but it isn't clear from the indictment whether he got that job.
A message left with Primrose Schools, which has schools in 15 states and 20 in North Carolina, was not returned Thursday.
A search warrant filed in court shows that NCIS agents found a variety of military paraphernalia at Shrewsbury's home, such as parts of different uniforms, military decorations including the Distinguished Flying Cross, and 19 photographs showing Shrewsbury awarding his wife a Navy Civilian Accommodation Medal.
Shrewsbury is scheduled to appear in federal court in Winston-Salem on Monday.