Lakeland man accused of impersonating cop


LAKELAND, Fla.  (WFLA) – A Lakeland man is out of jail after being arrested for allegedly impersonating a police officer, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.

Gamalier Gonzalez Santiago, 30, of 1400 Banana Road, Lakeland, was arrested after the guy he nearly tried to pull over, Martin Bozeman, saw the red and blue lights, a white strobe light and heard a siren behind him.

Bozeman told deputies the 2000 Mitsubishi pulled up behind him on US 98 but then passed him. That’s when Bozeman became suspicious, investigators said, and followed Santiago to his home.

“He pulled up behind me and put his lights on and I couldn’t even get over,” he said.  He went around everybody and blew the red light.”

Bozeman took News Channel 8 on an exclusive ride along in Lakeland Friday afternoon. He told us that when he saw the lights and heard the blaring siren that something just didn’t seem right. All the while, Bozeman was on the phone with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office dispatch.

We asked him about his motivation for following Santiago.

“Well because nowadays,” he said, “I don’t think citizens do take action, to be honest with you.”

“We’re sure that he’s done this before,” Polk County Sheriff’s public information officer Scott Wilder told News Channel 8.

But we wanted to know how investigators knew that. They cited the lights, the strobe, the siren and they were all hard-wired into the car.

“We don’t know what his intentions are,” said Wilder.  “What if it was a young teenage girl and she got pulled over late at night and this guy was the one who pulled him over.  She could be in some very serious danger.”

Besides Bozeman, investigators said he also put other drivers in danger.

“Oh, yeah,” he said.  “He easily could have caused a terrible crash.”

Bozeman believes he did the right thing.

“I just don’t know what his intentions are,” Bozeman said.  “I know it’s not right.  So I felt the need to be taken care of.”

When deputies arrived at the address, they said Santiago admitted he turned on the lights and a siren.

Deputies then conducted a search of the car and discovered the lights on the car’s windshield, as well as the strobe light and the s

iren device.

Santiago was arrested and taken to the Polk County Jail.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said Santiago may have pulled over other drivers. Santiago’s possible victims need to call PCSO.SEE MORE TOP CLICKED STORIES:

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