SPRING HILL, Fla. - A Spring Hill man is accused of stealing an official Pasco County Sheriff's uniform shirt and posing as a deputy so he could impress his girlfriend, according to investigators.
Christopher Sharp, 37, convinced friends that he drove a squad car and made traffic stops, including DUI checkpoints.
"He had me sold from day one that he was a police officer," said Robbie Belanger, one of Sharp's friends who later turned him in to authorities. Belanger said Sharp told convincing stories about life as a deputy and how he dealt with strange and violent cases. Belanger said Sharp would give legal advice to friends, including how to avoid DUI arrests.
In one instance, Belanger said Sharp came to a New Year's Eve party boasting about how he busted two young women for drinking and driving.
"He said, yeah, I had to arrest one. She was drunk behind the wheel. The other was underage drinking so I arrested her," Belanger said, describing Sharp's comments. "He said, you'll never believe this, but they're trying to bribe me for sexual favors," Belanger said.
Hernando County Sheriff's deputies found the stories to be false, and said Sharp confessed to posing as a deputy because he wanted to "impress his girlfriend." It's suspected he stole the uniform shirt from his sister's boyfriend, who's a Pasco County Sheriff's deputy.
When Belanger's girlfriend became suspicious about the stories, he checked with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office and found that Sharp wasn't on any staff roster.
Just to make sure, she tried to get Sharp to show off his supposed cruiser.
"She said, hey, I want to meet you somewhere on 19. Bring the boys up. See your cruiser. Turn the lights on for them. You know, have a good time with it," Belanger said. "Oh, I can't do it right now," Belanger said of Sharp's answer.
Eventually they confronted Sharp at his sister's house, and when Sharp saw them coming, they said he took off running in the woods. So they asked his sister what was going on.
"Is he a police officer? What does he do for work?" they asked.
"No, he works at Pizza Hut," she told them.
Hernando Sheriff Al Nienhuis said Belanger ruined any chance of being a real sheriff's deputy.
"Here is a shining example of someone who makes extremely poor decisions and will, consequently, not make through any law enforcement background investigation," Nienhuis said.
Sharp was arrested on charges of impersonation a law enforcement officer and was held on $2,000 bond.
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