BELLEVIEW, Fla. – An 18-year-old man was arrested on charges of stealing a Marion County sheriff's deputy's uniform and cruiser and conducting a traffic stop to "impress" his girlfriend.
Isael Ibrain Lima was arrested Monday on charges of grand theft of a motor vehicle, grand theft of a firearm, openly carrying a prohibited weapon, theft of law enforcement equipment from an emergency vehicle, burglary of a conveyance, armed burglary of a dwelling, impersonating a law enforcement officer and giving a false name to a law enforcement officer.
The Marion County Sheriff's Office said detectives were called Sunday to investigate a possible burglary at a deputy's home.
Deputy Yoandy Miranda, whose nephew, Lima, lives with him, said he was out of town for a couple of days and that when he returned home, he noticed that it appeared that someone had entered his locked bedroom. Miranda said his patrol vehicle had been entered, but nothing appeared to have been stolen from either the home or the vehicle, according to officials.
On Saturday, Belleview police were called to a disturbance at a convenience store, and officers made contact with Lima, who had identified himself as an off-duty MCSO deputy, authorities said. Lima was wearing an MCSO deputy's uniform and reported to Belleview police that he had witnessed a physical disturbance between two individuals at the location and had asked for BPD's assistance, authorities said.
The Sheriff's Office said Lima introduced himself to MCSO Sgt. Bobby Levay as Deputy Miranda before leaving the scene, but since Levay was not familiar with Miranda, he did not know that Lima was impersonating him.
On Sunday, Miranda contacted Levay to let him know about the possible burglary to his home and vehicle, and Levay then realized that Lima was impersonating Miranda, sheriff's officials said.
When detectives spoke with Lima, he admitted to breaking into Miranda's room and taking his uniform and issued equipment, sheriff's officials said.
Lima told detectives that he had initially put on the uniform and drove to his girlfriend's home because he wanted to "impress" her, according to officials.
Lima also admitted to impersonating an officer at the Belleview convenience store and that he stole his uncle's patrol vehicle, dressed in Miranda's uniform and conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle, officials said.
Lima also told detectives that he picked up a friend, who rode with him in the patrol car and recorded video of the traffic stop, the Sheriff's Office said.
"I don't think this man realized the danger he put himself in by trying to impersonate a deputy sheriff. Our deputies undergo extensive, ongoing training to be able to do their job safely. Ensuring public safety and trust are our priorities, and this is why we take this type of crime so seriously," Marion County sheriff's Chief Deputy Robert Douglas said.
Lima was arrested and taken to the Marion County Jail, where he's being held on a $33,000 bond.