St. Petersburg man impersonates officer, handcuffs neighbor over loud music, PCSO says

Pinellas County

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A bay area man accused of pretending to be a police officer and handcuffing a neighbor ends up in handcuffs himself.

According to a report from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, it all started during a dispute over loud music.

8 On Your Side worked to get both sides of the story Wednesday, speaking with the victim and the suspect.

67-year-old John Switzer was put behind bars Monday for impersonating an officer and false improvement, he bonded out of jail Wednesday morning so we went to chat with him.

Switzer wasn’t at his St. Pete home when we arrived, but his neighbor who claims she was handcuffed was.

The victim told 8 On Your Side that she was held hostage in handcuffs for 15 minutes.

“He got me on both hands, it hurt!” said Uyen Nguyen who said she’s still black and blue with bumps and bruises.

According to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, Switzer confronted his neighbor Monday night about loud music

“We just had a little music, not too loud,” Nguyen said.

Deputies said Switzer was armed with a gun, displayed a badge, and claimed to be an officer.

Nguyen said the ordeal was alarming. “Scary, very scary,” she said.

The report said Switzer quickly admitted he was not an officer, but rather, a former officer.

“That’s him in the car,” Nguyen pointed as we were talking to her.

Escorted by a deputy, Switzer came home for a few minutes to gather belongings from his house.

“Do you think you did anything wrong?” 8 On Your Side Reporter Christine McLarty asked Switzer. “No comment,” he replied.

McLarty asked him many questions, including if he was a former officer, where? “Bye! Can you please tell them to leave?” Switzer said to the deputy with him. The deputy said she couldn’t.

8 On Your Side didn’t leave, so Switzer did while yelling out his window. “He said ‘people are always lying,’ he goes ‘you can’t believe anything people say,’ Aaron Pellerin told 8 On Your Side. Pellerin was walking by on the sidewalk as Switzer was pulling out in his car.

When we told Pellerin what the police report said he was shocked Switzer was able to bond out of jail at all. “Because God knows what he’s going to do next,” Pellerin said.

Nguyen said a prosecutor with the state attorney’s office said they would give her an update on the situation in 15 days, on May 20th.

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