Florida man charged with impersonating deputy, stealing patrol car

by: Brittney Donovan, Action News Jax Updated:

A Florida man is facing several charges after he stole a deputy's uniform and patrol car and impersonated him while he was out of town, according to Marion County deputies.

Detectives were called to investigate a burglary at a Marion County deputy's home Sept. 24.  

Deputy Yoandy Miranda told deputies that he left town for a couple of days and when he got home, he noticed someone had entered his locked bedroom.  

He said someone was also inside his patrol car, but nothing was stolen from the home or car.

A day earlier, Belleview police officers were called to a disturbance at a convenience store.

Belleview officers say they spoke with a man in a MCSO deputy uniform who identified himself as an off-duty deputy. 

Isael Lima, 18, introduced himself to MCSO Sgt. Bobby Levay as "Deputy Miranda" and said he witnessed a physical disturbance between two people at the gas station and asked for BPD's assistance, according to police.

Levay said he was not personally familiar with Miranda and did not realize Lima was impersonating a deputy at that time.

The next day, Miranda contacted Levay to let him know about the possible burglary to his home and car.  

Levay realized that the "Deputy Miranda" he met the previous day was not the real Deputy Miranda.

Using footage from the BPD officer's body camera, detectives and Miranda identified the person at the gas station as Miranda's nephew.

Lima lives with Miranda and admitted to breaking into Miranda's room and stealing his uniform and issued equipment while he was away, deputies said. 

Lima told detectives that he initially put on the uniform and drove to his girlfriend's home because he wanted to impress her.  

He said he stole Miranda's patrol car, dressed in his MCSO uniform and conducted a traffic stop on a vehicle.  

Lima told detectives that he picked up a friend who rode with him in the patrol car and that his friend recorded video of the traffic stop.

This video was obtained by MCSO detectives.

Lima also admitted to impersonating Miranda at the convenience store in Belleview with BPD officers, deputies said. 

Lima was arrested and charged with grand theft of a motor vehicle, grand theft of a firearm, openly carrying prohibited weapon, theft of law enforcement equipment from an emergency vehicle, burglary of a conveyance, armed burglary of a dwelling, impersonating a law enforcement official, and giving a false name to a law enforcement officer.  

He is currently in the Marion County jail with his bond set at $33,000.

"I don't think this man realized the danger he put himself in by trying to impersonate a deputy sheriff," Chief Deputy Robert Douglas said. "Our deputies undergo extensive, ongoing training to be able to do their job safely. Ensuring public safety and trust are our priorities and this is why we take this type of crime so seriously."

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