Sarasota Man Charged with Impersonating an Officer

NEWS RELEASE 19-057 - APRIL 5, 2019
Ross Side by Side

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office charged a 25-year-old Sarasota man with Impersonating a Police Officer after he attempted to cite a citizen on false traffic charges. 
The incident occurred Monday at approximately 4:00 p.m., in the parking lot of 4927 Cattlemen Road in Sarasota. According to the victim, the suspect approached her while wearing an apparent law enforcement uniform and started writing her a ticket for a parking violation. The victim, who was carrying her two small children, challenged the suspect and questioned which agency he worked for, speaking loudly to draw attention to the situation. The suspect left the area but soon approached the victim again, while in his vehicle, and engaged in another argument. When the victim threatened to dial 911, the suspect fled the scene, nearly striking another car. At the time of the incident, the suspect was wearing a full law enforcement uniform and carrying a baton on his belt.
Through investigation, detectives identified the suspect as Charles Ross, DOB 01/20/94, who has prior arrests in Sarasota County for Crimes Against a Person and Resisting an Officer without Violence. Ross has prior arrests for Culpable Negligence, Obstruction, Battery, Resisting a Merchant, Trespass, Disorderly Conduct, and Grand Theft of a Stop Sign. He regularly records and posts content to social media involving pranking citizens and public officials. 
“It’s one thing to make a scene in an attempt to become famous on YouTube but it’s another to put people on edge by pretending to be an officer of the law,” commented Sheriff Knight. “Given the tensions surrounding our line of work these days, this defendant has a clear lack of judgement and disrespect for our community and our profession.” 
Ross is charged with a single felony count of Impersonation of a Law Enforcement Officer. He was released Wednesday on $10,000 bond. 
Citizens are encouraged to always stay aware of their surroundings and if approached by someone who seems suspicious and claims to be an officer or deputy, they should dial 911 immediately. By dialing 911 in Sarasota County, a calltaker will be able to provide verification for the caller.