By Jay Meisel
PORT ST. LUCIE - Customers at a Port St. Lucie Wal-Mart may not have been surprised to see a law enforcement officer arrest, handcuff and remove a suspected shoplifter from the store.
The only problem with the scenario was the officer wasn't an officer and the arrest was part of a ruse to get away with shoplifting, Port St. Lucie police said.
When police arrested the fake cop and shoplifter he supposedly arrested, they found four packs of Yugio playing cards stolen from Wal-Mart, a black pellet gun, toy handcuffs, a bi-fold wallet with a security badge and a nylon holster, Master Sgt. Frank Sabol, public information officer, said in a press release.
Police arrested Brandon Rhoads, 17, 525 S.E. Marydale Terrace, Port St. Lucie and charged him with impersonating a police officer, resisting an officer without violence and shoplifting. A 14-year-old, who was not named, was charged with shoplifting and resisting an officer without violence.
An incident report indicates the plan was for the 14-year-old to steal the cards and then Brandon would make a fast arrest of the 14-year-old.
Then they would leave the store and get away with the cards, the report said.
A Wal-Mart employee told police that earlier on Sept. 3 a male she later identified as Brandon, who was wearing a holster with a gun, "approached her and asked her to 'make a page,' for him."'
"She stated, 'OK are you a cop?'" the report said. "At that point, Rhoads quickly opened and closed his wallet, showing (the employee) a badge."
When the Wal-Mart employee asked for further identification, Brandon told her he would make the page himself, the report said.
The Wal-Mart employee then saw Brandon "approach another male and put handcuffs on him," the report said.
After they left the store, the employee saw them walk to a car where Brandon removed the handcuffs from the other male, the report said.
When the suspects saw the employee coming toward them, Brandon put the handcuffs back on the other male and they approached another vehicle, the report said.
But when they saw the employee continue to come, Brandon once again removed the handcuffs and both males started running, the report said.
When police later arrested the pair, they said they ran because they "did not want to get caught for stealing" or for "pretending to be a cop," the report said.