Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Clearwater man accused of posing as police officer

CLEARWATER — Jannie Young was tending to a sick grandson Monday morning when a man knocked on her front door.

"He says to me, 'I'm from the U.S. government and I'd like to look over your property.' I said, 'Do you have ID?' " Young recalled Tuesday. "I don't even know where that came from."

The man showed Young a Belleair Police Department business card.

But the 60-year-old retiree isn't easily fooled. Robbed at gunpoint as a teenager when she was working at Woolworth's, Young learned early to be aware of her surroundings, she said.

She noticed the man wasn't wearing any shoes. He seemed to be purposely concealing the name on the business card. And why would a police officer identify himself as a federal government employee?

"It was all of those things coming together," Young said Tuesday. "I thought, 'There's something wrong with this.' "

Young shut the door and called police, who arrived shortly and started searching for the man. Before long, they found Sterling Eugene Thurman, of 705 S Highland Ave., not far from Young's home.

Thurman admitted being at Young's Druid Road home, but denied impersonating a police officer and claimed he was looking for a friend, according to an arrest report.

The 37-year-old with a lengthy criminal history was charged with impersonating a police officer, a felony. On Tuesday, he was being held in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $5,000 bail.

It's unclear what Thurman's intentions were, but it's possible the woman averted a crime, Clearwater police spokeswoman Beth Watts said.

"She was very smart, and she realized something was not right and called police, which is what we always encourage people to do," Watts said.

Thurman has an arrest record dating to the late 1980s in Pinellas County. In 1990, he was sentenced to three years in prison after being convicted of burglary and grand theft auto. In 1993, he was sentenced to 18 months in prison for violating his probation on a conviction of possession of marijuana with intent to sell.

Thurman made headlines in Pasco County in 1996 when his infant son suffocated when he slipped between two mattresses on a school bus that served as a makeshift home for Thurman and his wife, Kellie Thurman.

The case was closed by the Pasco County Sheriff's Office when the medical examiner ruled the death an accident, according to Sheriff's Office spokesman Kevin Doll.

The Thurmans divorced in 1998, according to Pinellas County court documents.

Thurman was incarcerated between June 2000 and July 2003 after he was found guilty of violating his probation on convictions of resisting arrest with violence and felony driving while license suspended or revoked.

Rita Farlow can be reached at or (727) 445-4157.

Clearwater man accused of posing as police officer 11/16/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 16, 2010 7:05pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Shakeup on Adam Putnam campaign


    In a sign of unsteadiness for what  had  looked like a strong-out-of-the-gate Adam Putnam campaign, the Republican frontrunner suddenly fired his campaign manager and political director. Hard-charging Campaign manager Kristin Davis and political director Jared Small were two of the three outsiders to join …

    Putnam campaigning in Destin the other day as part of his 22-city bus tour
  2. Rays let early lead get away again in loss to Angels (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — As pleased as the Rays were to win consecutive series against the contending Red Sox, Indians and Yankees and to get briefly back over .500, there was a lot of talk in the clubhouse before Monday's game against the Angels that it was time to do better.

    Tampa Bay Rays third base coach Charlie Montoyo (25) high fives designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) as he rounds third on his lead off home run in the first inning of the game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Los Angeles Angels at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, May 22, 2017.
  3. Tampa man arrested for killing man in his USF-area home


    TAMPA — A Tampa man was arrested Monday in the death of man found killed at a home in the University of South Florida area last week, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office.

    Kadeem Dareem Archibald, 26, was arrested Monday on a  second degree murder charge in the University Area killing of Khando Kerr. [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Report: Trump asked intel chiefs to push back against FBI collusion probe after Comey revealed its existence


    President Donald Trump asked two of the nation's top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, the Washington Post reports, citing current and former officials.

    From  left, CIA Director Mike Pompeo; Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats; and National Security Agency Director Adm. Michael Rogers take their seats on Capitol Hill on May 11 before  testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on major threats facing the U.S. [Associated Press]
  5. For Gov. Rick Scott, 'fighting' could mean vetoing entire state budget

    State Roundup

    Every day, Gov. Rick Scott is getting a lot of advice.

    The last time a Florida governor vetoed the education portion of the state budget was in 1983. Gov. Bob Graham blasted fellow Democrats for their “willing acceptance of mediocrity.”