Anne Arundel County Police arrested a man who had been impersonating police and extorting thousands of dollars from Hispanic businesses.
Police say 41-year-old Christoper A. Jefferson was visiting Hispanic owned businesses and asking for donations for a fake charity aimed at helping the Hispanic community. In some cases, officials report that Jefferson would perform licensing tasks in exchange for donations from the business owners.
During his visits to the businesses, police say Jefferson would wear a bullet proof vest with a body camera and a badge posing as a law enforcement member. It was also reported that Jefferson would tell business owners that he worked closely with Anne Arundel County Police and showed pictures of himself alongside officers to gain the trust of the owners for his alleged efforts.
In one instance, Jefferson even went as far as calling officers to respond to an incident where he was conducting his activities to comfort a young man who was afraid of the police. The officer called to the incident did not know of Jefferson's intent during the situation, but detectives later determined that Jefferson manipulated the officer as a part of his scheme.
“We work so hard to make sure that this badge and patch bring positivity, calm to chaos, safety to violence, and service to everyone, that I’m having a hard time assimilating as I go through this thing, how a human being could do this," Chief of Police Timothy Altomare said at a press conference.
Detectives later found and arrested Jefferson on Thursday. They also conducted a search warrant at his home and found a ballistic vest and multiple “TSI” badges.
“I think it’s very important for everybody to understand, especially our immigrant community to understand, regardless of immigration status, that our police department is here to protect and serve," said County Executive Steuart Pittman.
Police believe there are additional people who are victim of Jefferson's fraudulent activity. They are asking business owners and operators who have been victimized to put their trust in the Anne Arundel County Police Department and come forward.