An 18-year-old man was arrested Monday for impersonating a law enforcement officer in Marion County.
On Saturday, Belleview Florida Police Department officers responded to a disturbance at a local convenience store, according to a Marion County Sheriff’s Office media release. BPD officers made contact with an individual, who had identified himself as an off-duty MCSO deputy and was wearing an MCSO deputy’s uniform. The man reported to BPD that he had witnessed a physical disturbance between two individuals at the location and had asked for BPD’s assistance. The man introduced himself to MCSO Sergeant Bobby Levay as “Deputy Miranda” prior to leaving the incident location. Sergeant Levay was not personally familiar with Deputy Miranda and did not recognize the man, later identified as 18-year-old Isael Ibrain Lima, to be impersonating Deputy Miranda at the time.
On Sunday, Marion County Sheriff’s Office detectives were called to investigate a possible burglary at an MCSO deputy’s home, according to a media release. “Deputy Miranda” reported that he had left town for a couple of days over this past weekend. Upon his return, he noticed that it appeared that unknown persons had entered his locked bedroom, and also noticed that his patrol vehicle had been entered. Nothing appeared to have been stolen from either the home or the vehicle. Deputy Miranda contacted Sergeant Levay to let him know about the possible burglary to his home and vehicle that had occurred over the weekend. Sergeant Levay realized that the “Deputy Miranda” he had met the previous day was in fact not the real Deputy Miranda, but Deputy Miranda’s nephew Isael Lima, who lives with Deputy Miranda. Using footage from the BPD officer’s body camera, detectives and Deputy Miranda identified the person in the footage as Lima.
When detectives spoke with Lima, he admitted to breaking into Deputy Miranda’s room while he was away for the weekend and taking his uniform and issued equipment. Lima told detectives that he had initially put on the uniform and drove over to his girlfriend’s home because he wanted to “impress” her. Lima also admitted to impersonating an officer at the convenience store in Belleview with BPD officers. He further admitted that he had stolen Deputy Miranda’s patrol vehicle, dressed in Miranda’s MCSO uniform and conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle. Lima told detectives that he had picked up a friend who rode with him in the patrol car, and that his friend recorded video of this traffic stop. The video was obtained by MCSO detectives.
Lima was arrested on charges of grand theft of a motor vehicle, grand theft of a firearm, openly carrying a prohibited weapon, theft of law enforcement equipment from an emergency vehicle, burglary of a conveyance, armed burglary of a dwelling, impersonating a law enforcement official and giving a false name to a law enforcement officer. He was transported to the Marion County Jail. Bond was set at $33,000.
“I don’t think this man realized the danger he put himself in by trying to impersonate a deputy sheriff. Our deputies undergo extensive, ongoing training to be able to do their job safely. Ensuring public safety and trust are our priorities and this is why we take this type of crime so seriously,” said Chief Deputy Robert Douglas in the release.