Palmetto man charged with impersonating officer, making traffic stop

September 16, 2013 

— MANATEE — A 24-year-old man has been charged with pretending to be a police officer, according to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office.

Jonathan Charles Stevens, 24, of Palmetto, has been charged with impersonating an officer and making a traffic stop on a motorist in the parking lot of Ellenton Premium Outlets, 5461 Factory Shops Blvd.

Two real sheriff’s office detectives happened to be in an undercover vehicle when they saw the driver of a white Chevrolet Tahoe with flashing blue-and-red emergency lights, black rims, a spotlight, tinted windows and a regular Florida license tag, stop a woman driving a car, according to a report.

Once the stop was concluded, the detectives say the driver exited his vehicle and entered Starbucks. Using binoculars, the detectives ran a check, discovering the Tahoe was not registered law enforcement, according to the report.

A few days later, detectives contacted the woman who had been stopped who told them she believed the person when he identified himself as “an off-duty officer," the report states.

On Sept. 10, detectives showed up at Stevens’ residence and he later admitted to conducting the stop, the sheriff's office said.

Stevens was charged Friday with impersonating a law officer and using an unlawful blue light.

He was released Saturday after posting a $2,000 bond, according to the sheriff’s office website.

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