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HOLLYWOOD (CAP) - A CAP News investigation has revealed that '80s and '90s film and television star Reginald VelJohnson, best known for his roles as Carl Winslow on the the sitcom Family Matters and as Sgt. Al Powell in the Die Hard film franchise, is continuing to dress himself in a police uniform each morning, despite not having played an officer on camera in many years.
At 59 years of age, it would seem to many that VelJohnson's years of portraying a believable blue-suited patrolman might be behind him. Friends and neighbors are reporting that they see VelJohnson leaving his home each morning wearing his trademark blue uniform, complete with a badge and holster.
"It's illegal to carry a gun in the city of LA," said VelJohnson's next door neighbor, Benjamin Lentz. "And for a while there, he [VelJohnson] was getting in trouble with the police. Impersonating an officer, carrying a loaded weapon, all of that.
"But every time a patrol car showed up to deal with him, they would just recognize him from TV and let him go about his business," added Lentz. "He's basically an honorary cop."
Lentz's wife Alice noted that people would always stop VelJohnson on the street and say, "Hey! Aren't you Carl Winslow!?" because they didn't know his real name. "The older he got, the less people would recognize him on the street," she said. "I think that's why he started wearing the uniform everyday."
"We just want to see Reggie back on top where he belongs," explained Carmine Parelli, VelJohnson's longtime friend and agent, offering a different take on his client's strange behavior. "The uniform represents his prime and we're doing everything we can to get him back in that spotlight."
Adding to VelJohnson's enigmatic choice of apparel is he manner in which he spends his days.
"He comes in here every day," said Joe Alberts, proprietor of Joe's Donuts and Coffee. "He has his police scanner on and is listening to it intently, like he's waiting to get called out to a crime scene. He always orders a dozen doughnuts, eats them all in one sitting and then leaves."
"After that," added Alberts, "I see him walking around the block throughout the day, spinning his baton and whistling."
While VelJohnson's motivation for his clothing of choice remains ambiguous, it is clear that he is far more recognizable when garbed in blues. CAP News approached the actor on the street as he signed autographs for fans referring to him as Carl Winslow, but he refused to comment on the subject and appeared to be confused by the nature of the question.
- Winston Ward