ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – A 38-year-old Bethlehem man was arrested Tuesday after he approached two people in a parked vehicle, showed them a badge, and claimed to be a sheriff’s deputy, according to the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office.
ACSO said the two people were parked at the Wittenburg Wildlife access off of Shiloh Church Road just before 9:30 when the man approached the passenger side of the car with a flashlight.
Officials said the man told the individuals that he worked for the Sheriff’s Office and there had been break-ins in the area. He said he was part of a stake-out operation with others watching from the woods.
The man was seen wearing dark-colored clothing with a diver patch on the jacket and was believed to have been driving a beige Ford truck with a camper shell.
One of the individuals told deputies that he believed the man was impersonating an officer and they got into a verbal argument.
When the man left the scene, the two people left and then contacted the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office to ask if there were actually officers working an operation in the Wildlife Access.
Deputies responded to the area to meet with the caller.
ACSO deputies were able to identify Timothy Bryan Stafford, 38, as the man who had confronted the two in the car. Stafford is not a sworn law enforcement officer.
Stafford was arrested and charged with two counts of impersonating a law enforcement officer and two counts of second-degree kidnapping for making the individuals feel like they were not free to leave during the encounter.
Stafford was placed under a $25,000 bond. He is due in court January 4.
The investigation is still ongoing.