Family accosted by belligerent phony deputy who burst into their home

A bizarre crime has left a family shaken and law enforcement officers scratching their heads in Liberty County
April 2, 2014 3:16:35 PM PDT
A bizarre crime has left a family shaken and law enforcement officers scratching their heads in Liberty County.

Authorities say around 7:40pm, when a family was accosted by a man dressed in a Liberty County Sheriff's uniform after he suddenly walked into their home through an unlocked door.

John Sellers likes listening to emergency scanner traffic.

"Just see what's going on, because there's always stuff going on around here," he said.

But he didn't need a scanner to find out the criminal activity going on in his own rural neighborhood.

"I thought it was an April Fool's joke. I figured somebody's doing it to me. But then when I saw he acted like that I called 911," Sellers said.

He called 911 because as he sat down for a cigarette, a man wearing a Liberty County sheriff's deputy uniform barged through his unlocked door and yelled at him.

"Wasn't no joke. Scary," Sellers said.

The man told Sellers that he if didn't report a crime, he'd be just as guilty as the one who committed it and then left. Sellers was dumbfounded.

"Never seen him before," Sellers said. "I thought he was a police officer."

"And then what made you think he wasn't?" we asked.

"'Cause he didn't have the badge,'" he said.

Not only was the man without a Liberty County badge, he was also wearing an old version of the department's field uniform.

"We've changed to a blue uniform and we no longer wear the tan uniform like the suspect was wearing last night, except when you go to court," Liberty County Sheriff's Office Capt. Ken Defoor said.

Defoor is a real deputy.

"He did have a gun. He had a gun belt. He had cuffs. He was fully apparently dressed out like a sheriff's deputy. And that's what he identified himself as being," Defoor said.

Authorities say the man was driving a black Tahoe-like SUV. It had no front license plate, emergency lights or law enforcement markings, and officials say they have no clue why the impersonator was bothering Sellers.

"There was no indication as to why the man should have even been there," Defoor said.

That fake deputy did have a name plate on the uniform that identified him as J.J. Edwards. There's nobody by that name in the department.

Sellers says he'll be locking his door now when he listens to the scanner.

The suspect was described by the homeowner as a white male in his late 20's or early 30's, 5'-7" with an average build, and clean shaven. He wore a tan short sleeve Liberty County Sheriff's Department uniform shirt with the correct shoulder patches on the shirt, black trousers and a gun belt with a weapon in the holster. No badge was on the shirt but a name tag with the name of "J.J. Edwards" was pinned over the right pocket.

Liberty County Sheriff Bobby Rader is asking the public to be very cautious if they should encounter this impersonator and to report any contact that anyone may have had in the past with a subject who fits this description or circumstances to the Liberty County Sheriff's Department at 936-336-4500. When this subject is arrested, he is expected to be charged with impersonating a peace officer and burglary of a habitat.

Tom Abrahams will have more on this story from the victm's point of view this afternoon on ABC-13 Eyewitness News. Find Tom on Facebook at TomAbrahams or on Twitter at @tomabrahams

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