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Manatee man, impersonating police, stops Tampa officer

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Published:   |   Updated: December 30, 2013 at 08:45 PM

Tampa police late Sunday arrested a Manatee County man, accusing him of using red and blue flashing lights in his Chevrolet Tahoe to stop a Tampa officer to alert the officer of a reckless driver in Ybor City.

Jonathan Charles Stevens, 24, was charged with impersonating a police officer, unlawful use of blue lights and carrying a concealed firearm. It is the second time in three months Stevens has been charged with impersonating a police officer.

Stevens was in his 2009 Tahoe, which was equipped with red and blue lights, and tried to pull over a Tampa officer around 10:30 p.m. Sunday near the corner of Seventh Avenue and 17th Street in Ybor City, police said.

He told the officer he wanted to report a reckless driver and said he was a Department of Homeland Security officer. Stevens said he had a Glock .45-caliber handgun and wore a badge around his neck.

Just before turning on his lights, he called police dispatch to report the same reckless driver, police said.

The officer found that the vehicle was not a police or emergency vehicle and did not belong to a government agency. Stevens later admitted he was not a law enforcement officer, police said, and he does not have a concealed weapons permit.

Stevens was released Monday morning after posting $17,500 bail, jail records show.

Manatee sheriff’s deputies arrested Stevens on Sept. 7 after hearing a siren and watching him turn on blue and red lights on his Tahoe and pull a woman over in the parking lot of the Ellenton Outlet Mall. Deputies said they were sitting in an undercover vehicle in the parking lot when they heard a siren and saw the Tahoe pulling a young woman over.

After a brief interaction, the woman drove away and the driver of the Tahoe parked it in a fire lane and went into a coffee shop. Deputies ran the license plate of the Tahoe and found it was not registered to a law enforcement agency. They contacted the woman, who said the man who pulled her over told her he was an off-duty police officer.

Three days later, deputies showed up at Stevens’ home and questioned him about the incident. They said he admitted to pulling the woman over and knew what he was doing was wrong. He said he had been warned by friends in law enforcement that he could get into trouble doing this.

A woman who answered the telephone at Stevens’ home on Monday said he no longer lives there.

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