SUNBURY — Shamokin resident Michael James Robinson, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2017 and has multiple code enforcement and traffic violations pending against him, now is accused of impersonating a federal officer and threatening members of Shamokin City Council on Monday night.
Robinson, 56, who has been incarcerated at Northumberland County Jail since Wednesday afternoon on a bench warrant for failing to appear for a court hearing and a probation violation, was arraigned by video Thursday afternoon by Magisterial District Judge Michael Toomey on misdemeanors of impersonating a public servant, disorderly conduct and disrupting a public meeting.
The charges were filed by Northumberland County Detective Degg Stark and relate to incidents that occurred on multiple dates at various locations this year, with the most recent taking place at Monday night’s meeting of Shamokin City Council and Tuesday and Wednesday at Northumberland County Courthouse.
Toomey committed Robinson to jail in lieu of $150,000 cash bail on the new charges.
Robinson lists his address on prison records as 138 E. Lincoln St., Shamokin, but also reportedly has an address in Bloomsburg.
Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz said his office recently received numerous complaints from local government agencies and citizens alleging Robinson has been identifying himself as a federal agent and has served fictitious court documents on numerous individuals and agencies. In many of the documents, Robinson identified himself as a federal agent, federal officer or court officer.
During Monday night’s city council meeting at Mill Road Square, Robinson advised those in attendance that he was a federal agent who works for the U.S. Attorney General and two federal judges. He also said he was there to advise them that they were criminals and were going to be jailed.
Upon conducting interviews with citizens and public officials at the meeting, Stark said they all feared for their safety as a result of Robinson’s actions.
Witnesses said Robinson appeared at the meeting wearing dark glasses and a camouflage visor pulled over his eyes. He also allegedly carried a camouflage backpack into the meeting and sat in the rear of the meeting room.
As Robinson addressed the group, he paced around the room and began yelling, making accusations and singling out certain officials and individuals, according to witnesses. Most people attempted to avoid eye contact with Robinson in hopes of avoiding a confrontation with him, Stark said.
At one point, Robinson accused Councilman Scott Roughton of burning his house down, according to a witness.
The detective said the meeting and incidents involving Robinson were recorded by Shamokin resident Joe Leschinskie Jr. and posted on his Facebook account.
Robinson was previously charged by Stark with harassing Leschinskie. That case remains pending in Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas.
After viewing Leschinskie’s video, Stark, who has 35 years of experience in law enforcement, said he found Robinson’s behavior to be disturbing, irrational, threatening and consistent with someone capable of harming others.
During an interview Wednesday with Stark, Shamokin resident Judy Allen, who attended the meeting, said she feared Robinson’s backpack may have contained a firearm. Allen told Stark that Robinson confronted her at the rear of the meeting room, pointed his finger at her and told her she also was being sued. Allen said it was obvious Robinson had mistaken her for someone else because he called her by a different name.
On Monday, Robinson called Laura James, a secretary in the district attorney’s office, seeking a continuance for an upcoming hearing. During the conversation, Robinson told James he was going to get even with people and claimed housing authority officials and other conspired to burn his house down.
Throughout the remainder of the day, Robinson continued to call James to rant, which interfered with her duties and constituted ongoing harassment, Stark said.
On Tuesday, Sheriff Robert Wolfe forwarded a memo to Stark indicating Robinson had come to the county courthouse looking for him earlier in the day. Upon approaching Wolfe, Robinson accused him of stealing from the state police pension fund, identified himself as a federal RICO agent and provided Wolfe with an identification number. Robinson also told Wolfe he was going to jail.
On Tuesday, Robinson came to the district attorney’s office escorted by Deputy Sheriff Todd Owens, who he became verbally combative with throughout his visit, according to James.
On Wednesday, a criminal complaint states that Robinson telephoned the DAs office and spoke to James. He told her he is a RICO investigator for the federal government and said, “You don’t know who you’re messing with.”
James said Robinson also claimed he won’t rest until all the people named in his lawsuit are sent to jail. As Robinson continued to argue with James and yell at her, James terminated the phone call.
On Wednesday, Shamokin Councilwoman Barbara Moyer said she felt threatened by Robinson’s presence and actions at Monday’s meeting. She said at one point prior to the start of the meeting, Robinson stared directly at her.
During an interview with Shamokin Councilman Dan McGaw on Wednesday, Stark said the councilman said Robinson’s unusual manner of dress caused him and others immediate concern. McGaw said it appeared Robinson was looking for a reason to explode.
McGaw told Stark he truly believes Robinson will hurt someone and suggested the area outside the entrance to the meeting room be scanned in the event Robinson is waiting outside.
Northumberland County Deputy Probation Chief Brian Updegrove told Stark he doesn’t believe Robinson has direct access to a weapon, but believes he would pose a direct threat to the public if he could acquire one.
Stark said Robinson was on probation and wanted on a bench warrant for failing to appear for a criminal motion hearing at 1 p.m. Wednesday in Northumberland County Court of Common Pleas.
The detective said Robinson was taken into custody without incident by Owens, Bloomsburg police, Northumberland County and Columbia County probation officers at about 3:10 p.m. Wednesday at East and Seventh streets in Bloomsburg after being spotted near his 2003 Jaguar.
Robinson is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing at 9:15 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 27, before Toomey.