UMATILLA, Fla. – A Lake County man is facing charges of impersonating a cop with a firearm after investigators say he was involved in two separate incidents.
Robert Lewis, 46, bonded out of the Lake County Jail on Friday afternoon.
An Umatilla family said they were first terrorized by Lewis last Sunday, when he followed them home from a gas station.
Celeste Wilson said she was with her two young kids, ages 7 and 8, putting air in her tire at the gas station, when she got a strange feeling that someone was watching her.
Wilson said when she started up her car to leave the gas station, she noticed headlights come on in a white pickup truck parked nearby.
"It was terrifying that night," said Wilson who began to race home. "I'm going over the speed limit because I'm thinking, 'Oh, is this person really following me?' and as I'm speeding up, he's speeding up and he followed me all the way into my driveway."
Wilson said she parked her car behind her house, hoping to run in the back door.
"And he got as close as he could to my car with his car and then that's when he hit the lights," said Wilson.
Wilson said he flipped on white flashing lights, like a strobe light, from his dash then got out of his truck with a flashlight. At that point, she thought he might be a real police officer.
By then, Wilson's older daughter and mother had also come outside, but when they asked to see a badge, Wilson said all the man would say is, "Do you know how fast you were going?"
Wilson's older daughter then wrote down his tag and called 911.
"He said, 'Well, you don't have to worry about it, I'm with the cops, You don't have to go get 'em. I already have 'em with me," said Wilson.
Afterward, Wilson said he sped off leaving her and her kids alone.
"I don't know what he's capable of doing and I don't want to find out," said Wilson.
Just two days later, on Sept. 10, officers were called out to a Kangaroo gas station in Altoona. There, a clerk and several witnesses said Lewis was flashing an ID card with the words "Lake County Sheriff" on it. According to a Umatilla police report, he was telling people at the gas station that he was an undercover detective and lifted his shirt several times to reveal a firearm.
Police soon spotted Lewis driving his white pickup truck with the same tag from the incident involving Wilson.
He was arrested and booked into the Lake County Jail and $4,000 bond.