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Man accused of impersonating a police officer arrested, Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office says

Posted at 11:27 AM, Apr 04, 2016

Deputies have busted a man who was pretending to be like them, according to the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office.

On Friday, 19-year-old Cristian Leon was arrested for impersonating a law enforcement officer.

Last week, a woman who was driving near Belvedere Road and Military Trail said she was pulled over by a man dressed like a police officer and who had a holstered gun.

After the person began asking the woman about things unrelated to a crime, she became suspicious, drove off and called 911.

But Leon tells NewsChannel 5 this was all a misunderstanding and he wasn't pretending to be a cop.

He says he was on his way to work last Monday in his security guard uniform, when a female motorist nearly crashed into his SUV. 

Leon says he has dreams of becoming a police officer. Dreams he admits may not happen now.

For the first time, the woman who says she was pulled over by Leon is speaking. 

"My heart was like pounding fast and I just like closed my eyes cause I thought this is it you know.  I don't know what's going to happen to me," said the victim as she described the feeling of realizing she may be dealing with an impersonator. 

It was supposed to be the end of the night for her. The 27-year-old woman who wants to remain anonymous was going home to her one-year-old baby girl. 

"I was at the red light and a big SUV pulled up next to me," she said.

She says Leon drove up in uniform and told her to pull over. Nervously, she says she pulled into the Murphy's gas station where the parking lot was well lit, but Leon told her to back up into the dark Walgreens parking lot next door. It was past 3 a.m. and the store was closed. 

"He gets out comes up to the car and puts his hand on his gun and one hand on my car," said the victim. 

The victim says Leon asked her several questions and did not believe that was really going home from work. The police report says he said "Let me see your boobs" to the woman. That's when the victim knew something wasn't right and pulled up her window, locked her doors, and called 911. 

"I didn't know what to think, if I'm going to be like robbed or raped or I don't know," she said.

She says when Leon noticed she was calling 911, he ran off. The victim says this is a lesson to pay attention to red flags, she's grateful she wasn't hurt. 

"I got to go home to my family, cause a lot of these situations don't turn out that way," she added. 

Police took Leon's gun from him. He has since been fired from the private security company he was working for. 
 

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A neighbor, who says he's known Leon his whole life, had this to say, "I think honestly, it's just a stupid mistake," said Enrique Diz. "It was an immature thought. It must have been in the moment."

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The sheriff's office released a composite sketch of the suspect, which was circulated by the media.

Tips poured in and the sheriff's office said it led detectives to Cristian Leon who was working for a security company at the time the woman was stopped.

Leon, 19, of West Palm Beach, confessed to pulling the woman over but said he did not get out of his vehicle and wasn't wearing a firearm on his waist, according to the sheriff's office.

Leon faces a charge of falsely impersonating an officer and false imprisonment.

The local security company Leon works for, Vestige Security, issued a statement saying Leon has been terminated.

His next court appearance is May 2 at 10:30 a.m.