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Sheriff Judd: "Fake LEO no Hawaii Five-0"

Posted: 5:57 PM, Sep 21, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-21 21:57:10Z

A Winter Haven man found driving a Crown Victoria with law enforcement decals and sporting a badge is facing charges tonight.

James Garfield, of Winter Haven, is accused of impersonating a law enforcement officer.

"He is no Hawaii Five-0, he's a jailbird," said Sheriff Grady Judd.

According to deputies, there was a BOLO out for the Crown Victoria which was equipped with a light bar across the top, a mounted radar speed gun, a video camera and the outside had decals that said "officer."

Inside the car, deputies say they found a BB gun, ammo, a badge holder and a bulletproof vest.

The car was tracked to Garfield's home.

Deputies say when they arrived there Friday morning, they found Garfield wearing a gold badge on his waistband.

An arrest affidavit reports that Garfield claimed this was all a misunderstanding.  He reportedly owns a security business based out of Orlando and the company's in charge of making his car and gear made mistakes.

He was unable to name those businesses, deputies said.

Deputies told ABC Action News the business does come up on SunBiz but further investigation revealed Garfield does not have a license to operate and could not be granted one due to prior arrests.

"This is the kind of person that is dangerous.  This is the kind of person that the normal law abiding citizen would stop for," Judd added.

There is no evidence Garfield ever pulled someone over or identified himself to members of the public as a law enforcement officer.

Deputies are now looking for victims.

"We didn't misunderstand it at all," Judd said.

Garfield, who has not yet bonded out, is charged with driving on a suspended license and impersonating a law enforcement officer.

SIMILAR ARREST ON SEPT. 10

 
Thomas Manning Hook of Frostproof, a registered sex offender whose criminal history includes six felony arrests, has been charged with impersonating an officer in Highlands County and impersonating a bail bondsman in Polk County, among other charges.
 
Hook approached deputies in a Ford Crown Victoria on Thursday night as they investigated a crash in the area of Collany Lane and Highway 27, according to Polk County Sheriff’s Office. He had red and white emergency lights flashing on his car.
 
Deputies declined his offer to help, and he drove away north on Highway 27 with his lights flashing. After he left, Highlands County deputies arrived and said they’d been following Hook because he was wanted for impersonating an officer.
 
Hook returned and, while speaking to a deputy, showed a wallet with a gold private investigator badge, deputies said. He’s accused of identifying himself as a fugitive recovery agent. Other identification in the wallet identified him as a law enforcement detective and a retired Marine Corps major.
 
Hook told detectives he was a licensed private investigator in South Carolina, but then changed his story, deputies said. He also told them he was never a major in the military.