A Pasco County man is charged with false impersonation of a law enforcement officer and improper exhibition of a firearm. Sheriff Chris Nocco says Charles "Chuck" Barry pretended to be a law enforcement officer in order to demand discounts at Dunkin Donuts on State Road 54 in Trinity.
Investigators say Barry received a 10 percent discount on several occasion and then became upset when employees denied him the discount because they felt he was abusing it.
The sheriff's office says Barry showed employees what appeared to be a sheriff's badge and also showed that he was carrying a holstered gun.
"He mentioned to an employee that he was a U.S. Marshal at one point. He also mentioned that he was an Air Marshal, which also raised a flag to the employees," said Captain James Mallo.
Barry is not a U.S. Marshal or an Air Marshal. He works at a printer, fax, and copy machine supplier in Hudson. But Captain Mallo and Sheriff Nocco say he liked to play cop.
Customers of the Dunkin Donuts were disgusted.
"It's just not right. It's like claiming you're in the military when you're not in the military," said Steve Hepworth. "To me, that's just as cheap as you can get."
According to investigators, employees became more suspicious as Barry became more demanding.
"Apparently, he went in with family members and kind of argued to get a discount," said Mallo.
Investigators say the fact that a weapon was involved is very concerning.
"It only takes half a second to turn that around and point it at somebody," said Nocco. "He brandished a gun. What's the following step after that? Where is he going to take his fantasy?"
The manager reported Barry to Mallo, who is also a customer. Detectives busted him Tuesday when he returned to the donut shop.
"He was very sorry he did what he did. I believe he was even crying on scene," Mallo said.
Sheriff Nocco says the badge once belonged to Barry's father, who was a police officer in New Jersey at one time.
Barry bonded out of jail Wednesday. His concealed weapons permit has been revoked.
Nocco and Mallo remind the public that it's okay to question anyone claiming to be law enforcement when there is doubt. Nocco adds that members of his agency do not solicit discounts at businesses.