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Florida man uses badge from eBay to impersonate officer, police say

Suspect says he didn't think he was doing anything wrong

ORLANDO, Fla. – A Florida man used a badge he purchased from eBay and red and blue lights installed in his vehicle in an attempt to impersonate a law enforcement officer, according to the Orlando Police Department.

An officer patrolling Tuesday night on Colonial Drive and Mills Avenue noticed a black four-door Acura with flashing red and blue lights on its dash that appeared to be attempting to pull over another driver, the report said.

Police said the driver turned off the flashing lights when he noticed the officer's patrol vehicle nearby.

The officer said he followed the Acura, which began speeding and weaving between vehicles in an erratic manner.

A traffic stop was conducted and the driver, 62-year-old Josue Santiago, displayed his wallet and a five-point star badge with "Deputy Sheriff Charlotte County Florida" imprinted on it, according to the affidavit. Police said Santiago admitted to buying the badge on eBay.

Santiago told the officer that he is not in law enforcement, but his cousin is a trooper, records show.

In addition to the red and blue lights, Santiago's Acura also had a Police Athletic League license plate with a thin blue line license plate cover and a "United States of America Law Enforcement Police Officer" vanity plate on the front bumper, authorities said.

Santiago told the officer he's volunteered extensively with law enforcement agencies and didn't think it was illegal to use red and blue lights to gain certain traffic privileges, according to the affidavit.

He was arrested on charges of falsely impersonating an officer, prohibited use of certain lights and unlawful use of a police badge.


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