A man in Florida who was wearing a suit and had what appeared to be a gun on his hip drew attention after he entered a Best Buy last week.
The man also had a U.S. Marshal’s badge as he entered the Boynton Beach store on March 21, reported the Palm Beach Post.
Store employees recognized the man because he’d been accused of stealing an iPhone X from the same location just a few days prior.
The police were called and officers approached the man, later identified as 61-year-old John O’Grady.
O’Grady told officers that he was a U.S. marshal, but he didn’t have any identification that proved that nor could he refer the officers to a supervisor.
After he was pressed by officers, the man conceded he was not a marshal and said the firearm at his hip was actually a BB gun.
Officers arrested the suspect and he was charged with retail theft after they found the stolen iPhone in his vehicle.
“Congratulations, you just impersonated a police officer,” the officer said. “That’s a federal offense.”
O’Grady was also charged with impersonating a police officer.
— Kennedy Smith (@ksh21691986) March 28, 2018
The interaction with the officers was captured on a body camera worn by one of them.
A representative for the Boynton Beach Police Department told CBS 12 that impersonating a police officer can lead to real confusion.
“Members of the public don’t know the difference and someone’s life could be at stake in that case,” said Stephanie Slater, spokeswoman for the department.
— WPEC CBS12 News (@CBS12) March 23, 2018
O’Grady was released on bond and approached by the broadcaster.
Asked about his alleged crime of impersonation, he said, “I didn’t know it was illegal.”
Part of the investigation seeks to find out how long O’Grady was impersonating a U.S. marshal.