Polk County sheriff's deputies said they arrested a man Friday who tried to impersonate a law enforcement officer in an attempt to avoid paying $11.
PCSO Animal Control Officer Austin Thompson, 21, of Winter Haven was arrested after impersonating a law enforcement officer to avoid paying $11 at a high school football game.
According to an affidavit, Thompson drove into the parking lot of Tenoroc High School during the football game, and when asked by the parking attendant to pay the $5 parking fee, Thompson showed his silver-colored civilian agency badge to the attendant and told the attendant he was an undercover deputy, in an attempt to avoid paying the parking fee. After a brief discussion, the parking attendant allowed Thompson in without paying (for this he was charged with petit theft).
Once inside, Thompson went up to the ticket booth and told the school officials who were working the booth that he was an undercover deputy sheriff, in an attempt to avoid paying the $6 entry fee. When Thompson was refused entry and told he had to pay the $6, Thompson asked if they accepted debit cards – he was told no, cash only.
At that time, he went back to his car, and the school officials reported the incident to the PCSO deputy sheriff who was working security at the field.
The deputy sheriff confronted Thompson in the parking lot by his vehicle. At that time, Thompson made the spontaneous statement to the deputy that he told the parking attendant he was an “off-duty officer.”
During a search of Thompson’s vehicle the deputy found a loaded 9 mm handgun in the armrest between the two front seats.
Thompson was placed under arrest and booked into the Polk County Jail. His bond amounts are as follows:
- Impersonating a LEO - $1,000 bond
- Possession of Firearm on School Property - $1,000 bond
- Petit Theft - $250 bond
Thompson was hired by PCSO in February 2016 as an Animal Control Officer, which is a civilian position. He resigned from that position upon his arrest.
He is being charged with one count Impersonating a Law Enforcement Officer (F-3), one count Possession of Firearm on School Property (F-3), and one count Petit Theft (M-2).