SARASOTA, Florida – A 25-year-old Florida man was charge with impersonating a police officer after he attempted to cite a woman on false traffic charges for a prank on YouTube.
According to the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office , the incident occurred Monday at approximately 4:00 p.m., in the parking lot of 4927 Cattlemen Road in Sarasota.
The woman told deputies that the Florida man, who was later identified as Charles Ross, 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 Ross and questioned which agency he worked for, speaking loudly to draw attention to the situation.
Ross 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, Ross fled the scene, nearly striking another car. At the time of the incident, Ross was wearing a full law enforcement uniform and carrying a baton on his belt.
Ross has prior arrests for Crimes Against a Person and Resisting an Officer without Violence, Culpable Negligence, Obstruction, Battery, Resisting a Merchant, Trespass, Disorderly Conduct, and Grand Theft of a Stop Sign.
Ross’ YouTube channel has over 129 million views and over a million subscribers. 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.