Man Arrested Outside White House Told Secret Service He Had Appointment With President Obama - NBC4 Washington

Man Arrested Outside White House Told Secret Service He Had Appointment With President Obama

R.J. Kapheim pleads not guilty to unlawful possession of rifle

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    WH Arrestee Claimed to Have Appointment With Obama

    An Iowa man arrested with weapons in his car outside the White House told the Secret Service the president called him there for a meeting. Mark Segraves reports. Courtroom sketches by Bill Hennessy. (Published Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014)

    A man arrested with weapons in his car outside the White House Wednesday afternoon told the Secret Service the president called him directly and asked him to go to the White House, according to the police report.

    R.J. Kapheim, 43, pleaded not guilty Thursday afternoon to one count of unlawful possession of a rifle. The judge ordered him held until a hearing at 9 a.m. Friday.

    Kapheim approached a Secret Service officer just before 1 p.m. Wednesday and said he had an appointment with President Barack Obama, authorities said. The officer checked his ID and determined he did not have an appointment.

    Kapheim insisted President Obama had called him and began shaking his head, according to the police report. The officer called for backup to check on Kapheim's welfare. They asked him if they could check his car and he agreed.

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    News4's Chris Lawrence has the latest details in the arrest of an Iowa man after a blade, rifle and ammunition were found in his car.
    (Published Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014)

    As Secret Service walked Kapheim to his car at 16th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, he told them he had a weapon in the car, authorities said. The barrel could be seen sticking up from the backseat, a position from which it could be reached from the front seat.

    Officers found the .30-30 rifle was loaded with six rounds of ammunition. Another 36 rounds and a 6-inch fixed blade also were found in the car, according to the police report.

    There's no indication Kapheim made any threats.

    Kapheim told police he drove to D.C. from Davenport, Iowa, where he reportedly works as an inventor.

    Court records from Iowa show Kapheim was charged with several traffic violations over the years, and in 2012, he changed his name from "Rachael" to "R.J." to make it easier to get a job.

    The arrest came just as Secret Service Acting Director Joseph Clancy was testifying in Congress about low morale he said has contributed to high-profile oversights by agents recently.

    The agency has been under scrutiny since a Texas Army veteran, Omar Gonzalez, leapt over a White House fence on Sept. 19 and charged into the White House. Gonzalez made it way all the way into the East Room before he was tackled, thanks to a string of Secret Service failures detailed in an internal review out last week.