After he allegedly dressed up as a Florida sheriff's deputy in an attempt to impress his girlfriend, Jeremiah Cunningham has been charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer, openly carrying a weapon and using a police badge.
Cunningham allegedly impersonated the officer by wearing badge and a vest with "Sheriff" written on it, in addition to carrying a gun and ammunition at the Oakland Park Flea Market last week.
The 24-year-old almost was able to get away with it because the deputy who originally questioned him believed Cunningham "was in fact a Broward Sheriff's Deputy."
"[Cunningham] spoke in police lingo and utilized acronyms not usually known by the public," Broward Judge John "Jay" Hurley said during Cunningham's day in court on Friday. "He also presented names of deputies with the Sheriff's Office who [allegedly] had trained him."
Broward Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Veda Coleman-Wright told the Sun Sentinel that Cunningham was only found out because of a followup investigation that was conducted by a sergeant.
The impersonator turned himself in to the police after authorities contacted his father.
"He gave a confession stating he dressed himself falsely, presenting himself as a BSO deputy to try to impress a girlfriend," Hurley said.
Cunningham reportedly had a Glock .40 caliber pistol and 16 hollow-point bullets stashed in his car.
"There's still an underlying danger to the public because if someone would have needed police assistance, they might have gone to [Cunningham] for help instead of dialing 911," Coleman-Wright said. "There's still a danger when someone impersonates a law enforcement officer, even if their intentions are not ill-willed."
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