PASCO COUNTRY, FLORIDA – Christopher Sharp, a 37-year-old resident of Spring Hill, Florida, realized his job at Pizza Hut might not be the most impressive vocation in the eyes of his live-in girlfriend.
So instead of landing better employment, Sharp stole a Pasco County Sheriff’s deputy uniform and for five months pretended to be employed as a cop to impress his friends, family, and girlfriend.
Sharp stole a deputy shirt from his sister’s boyfriend, an actual Pasco deputy, and since August 2012 pulled off the ruse.
Before returning from his Pizza Hut job every day, he’d stop and change into the deputy’s uniform.
According to Tampa Bay Online, he’d then return home and tell his girlfriend stories about what had happened on his shift.
He even attended a New Year’s Eve party in full uniform and went around telling stories to people about DUI arrests he had supposedly made earlier in the evening.
Actual cops eventually got wind of the ruse and began to investigate. When they confronted Sharp, he admitted he was just trying to impress his girlfriend.
It doesn’t appear he was trying to pull off any real cop-like behavior while in the uniform. However, he was arrested on charges of impersonating an officer.
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Police impersonation is an act of falsely portraying oneself as a member of the police, for the purpose of deception. In the vast majority of countries the practice is illegal and carries a custodial sentence.
Impersonating a police officer is sometimes committed in order to assert police-like authority in order to commit a crime. Posing as a police officer enables the offender to legitimize the appearance of an illegal act, such as: burglary, making a traffic stop, or detaining.
Dressing up as a police officer in costume, or pretending to be a police officer for the purpose of play or a harmless prank toward an acquaintance is generally not considered a crime, provided that those involved recognize the imposter is not a real police officer, and the imposter is not trying to deceive those involved into thinking he/she is.