ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – A Central Florida man with a criminal history of impersonating law enforcement was arrested during a traffic stop Tuesday when deputies say he was dressed as a police officer while riding on a motorcycle and carrying a weapon.
Orange County sheriff’s deputies said they spotted Jeremy Dewitte around 9:45 p.m. while traveling eastbound on Interstate 4 from Orange Blossom Trail. Dewitte was riding among other motorcyclists who “mirrored law enforcement,” according to an arrest affidavit.
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A deputy noted the group of riders were dressed in yellow polo shirts with screen print and markings of police-type shields and badges. Their sleeves had “protection officer,” “motor unit” and “metro state protection services,” among other similar law enforcement-related titles printed on their shirts, records show.
Deputies said Dewitte specifically had two sets of two black stars on his collar that signify a two-star general within the U.S. military and a chief deputy in law enforcement.
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Dewitte’s getup also closely resembled a law enforcement motor unit, a deputy wrote in the arrest affidavit, as the 41-year-old also sported a bulletproof vest, a gun belt with a handgun or pepper ball gun, Motorola radios, pepper spray, a baton and a body camera.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office said Dewitte was the rider leading the group in the far left travel lane of the highway. Dewitte was the only one openly carrying a firearm, which is a violation of state law, according to the sheriff’s office.
A deputy then conducted a traffic stop, pulling over the registered sex offender and immediately took him into custody as a safety measure, the affidavit reads. The deputy took hold of Dewitte’s firearm and learned upon evaluating the weapon that it was a device that could shoot out chemicals. It was not loaded, records show.
The deputy said as the weapon’s magazine was empty, Dewitte did not intend to use it for personal protection but rather for the appearance that he was carrying a firearm. During a law enforcement interview, Dewitte admitted he had the weapon to gain compliance from citizens he approached, according to the affidavit.
As Dewitte is a convicted felon, he is not allowed to carry concealed weapons.
He is now being held in the Orange County Jail on $5,000 bond.