TAMPA -- A 24-year-old Palmetto man was charged Sunday by the Tampa Police Department with impersonating an officer, unlawful use of a blue light and carrying a concealed weapon.
It's the second time in three months Jonathan Charles Stevens of the 8000 block of Woodlawn Circle in Palmetto has reportedly impersonated a law officer, which is a felony.
He was first charged Sept. 16 by the Manatee County Sheriff's Office with impersonating a police officer and making a traffic stop on a motorist in the parking lot of Ellenton Premium Outlets, 5461 Factory Shops Blvd.
The Tampa Police Department reportedly arrested Stevens at 11:03 p.m. Sunday at a 17th Street North and Seventh Avenue East. The TPD reports Stevens was driving the same white 2009 Chevy Tahoe equipped with flashing red-and-blue emergency lights he had when arrested in Manatee County.
This time, Stevens reportedly activated his vehicle lights to stop a Tampa police officer to report a reckless driver. Stevens reportedly said he was a homeland security officer and had a Glock .45-caliber handgun and a badge around his neck, which the officer said she found suspicious.
Just before turning on his emergency lights, Stevens also called TPD dispatch to report the same information. As the officer Stevens had stopped continued to talk with him, TPD personnel reportedly discovered the vehicle was not registered to a government agency.
Upon questioning, Stevens reportedly admitted he was not employed by a government agency and doesn't have a concealed weapon permit. He was arrested and released Monday morning on $17,500 bond.
In the earlier Manatee County arrest, two detectives in an undercover vehicle reportedly saw the driver of a Tahoe with flashing blue-and-red emergency lights, black rims, spotlight, tinted windows and a regular Florida license tag, stop a woman driving a car.
After the stop, detectives say the driver exited his vehicle and entered Starbucks. Using binoculars, the detectives reportedly ran a check to find the Tahoe was not registered law enforcement.
A few days later, detectives said the woman who
had been stopped told them the person identified himself as "an off-duty officer." Stevens later admitted to conducting the stop, the sheriff's office said.
Stevens was released then after posting a $2,000 bond, according to the sheriff's office website. His Manatee County case remains open.
Terry O'Connor, night metro editor, can be reached at 941-745-7040 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.