Riverdale Mayor Moreland Perkins termed a story concocted by Police Chief Alfred Barcenas about a county judge working undercover -- and deliberately committing a traffic violation -- "a fit of fabulism." Prince George's Circuit Judge Jacob S. Levin, the central character in Barcenas' tale, called it "not true."

The tale reportedly told by Barcenas, which created such a stir and landed on the front page of The Washington Times yesterday, was that Levin, working undercover, deliberately drove without headlights one night along Kenilworth Avenue to see how well the town's officers enforce the laws.

It worked, according to Barcenas. Two officers stopped Levin, gave him field sobriety tests and decided to arrest the 63-year-old jurist on charges that he was driving under the influence of alcohol.

The two officers did not know that Levin is a judge, and they also did not know that he does not drink.

Levin took a breath test. The results showed that he had no traces of alcohol in his system, Perkins said. The judge was released from custody and no charges were filed against him.

Barcenas told The Washington Times that the officers did not know they were being tested. "He'd be just like an actor," the newspaper quoted Barcenas as saying. "There was no smell of alcohol on his breath, but he faked it real good. I want to use him again."

Perkins, who said he originally believed Barcenas' story, said yesterday that Barcenas admitted that he made up the story about Levin working undercover "to protect his own officers and to protect the judge. He seemed to think that the judge's reputation was somehow in jeopardy," Perkins said.

For his part, Levin yesterday said that the story about him working undercover was untrue.

He issued a brief statement that said he was "erroneously arrested" for driving under the influence of alcohol.

"I consented to taking the Breathalyzer test, which conclusively showed that I had nothing to drink, and I was then released from custody," he said.

Perkins said the incident "disturbed" him, but he has not decided what, if any, actions to take in the matter.

"I don't know exactly what was on {Barcenas'} mind," the mayor said. "You try to figure it out."