BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) - Authorities on Friday said a Mulberry man posed as a cop and took drivers’ wallets at gunpoint after pulling them over in Hillsborough County.
A search is underway for the man’s alleged accomplice.
Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested Jesus Ledesma Friday morning and said they have tied him to several incidents of credit card fraud in connection with the cop impersonation.
After Ledesma’s arrest, deputies discovered a fully-functional police light bar inside his vehicle.
Detectives tell us on Dec. 22, 2018 at 11:06 p.m., a silver SUV with a blue flashing light pulled someone over at 604 Lithia Pinecrest Road in Brandon. The victim believed this was a routine traffic stop conducted by a law enforcement officer.
Two men approached the victim's vehicle, one on either side, and the suspect on the driver's side identified himself as a detective and requested the victim's driver's license and registration, investigators said.
The driver was suspicious and requested to see the suspect's credentials. The agitated suspect pointed a silver revolver at the victim and demanded the victim's wallet. The suspects took off with the driver's wallet and credit cards.
At 7 p.m. on Thursday night, detectives explained how another victim was traveling north on Bethlehem Road, between Blackjack Road and Rolling Vista Loop, when a silver SUV, with red and blue lights, made a traffi stop.
A man got out of the vehicle and approached the driver's side. He was very aggressive and demanded the victim's driver's license, but he only had an identification card. The suspect took the victim's wallet and went back to his vehicle, investigators said.
He threw the wallet on the dashboard, having stolen $515 from inside the wallet, and told the victim to "stop speeding." The suspect returned to his vehicle, made a U-turn and headed southbound on Bethlehem Road.
Detectives believe the light bar may be the same one that was stolen between Dec. 20 and 21 from an patrol vehicle parked at Courtesy Chrysler in Brandon. It was there for maintenance.
Ledesma was arrested on charges of fraudulent use of personal information and fraudulent use of a credit card. He now faces additional charges of false personation during the commission of a felony, unlawful use of blue light, robbery with a firearm, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of a controlled substance and driving with a license canceled, suspended or revoked, violation of probation.
Detectives do not think Ledesma acted alone and are still searching for a 5' 10" tall man with a beard.
Polk County investigators were at the suspect's home in Mulberry Friday afternoon where they appeared to question a woman on a picnic table.
Ledesma was in court Saturday morning for his first appearance. The judge ordered Ledesma to be held with no bond. He is due back in court at a later date to answer for these charges.