Sunday, June 17, 2018
Public safety

Police: Man pretending to be a cop demands free meal at McDonald's

ST. PETERSBURG — Joseph Pineda demanded a free meal Friday afternoon when he pulled up to a McDonald's drive-through window. He was entitled to it, he told restaurant employees, because he was a cop, Pinellas sheriff's deputies said.

But the employees and a manager at the McDonald's on 5464 66th Street N didn't believe him, even after Pineda showed them a badge and gun. He had just come from a sting, he told them, and didn't have his wallet, deputies said. He continued to demand that his food should be free.

That's when employees called the real police, who arrested Pineda, 33, on charges of impersonating a police officer and improper exhibition of a firearm.

Pineda surrendered at gunpoint after initially ignoring commands from the arriving deputies to show his hands. Inside his car, officers found two fake police badges and a real .45 caliber handgun in the center console.

Pineda, of Pinellas Park, was being held in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $10,500 bail.

Times staff

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