NEW PORT RICHEY — Deputy Chris Greifenberger's phone rang at 2 a.m. Friday. A colleague wanted to know why his name had popped up in arrest report logs that night. Funny, Greifenberger thought. He'd been sleeping.
The previous day, a homeless man named Jere John Daum walked into a 7-Eleven on State Road 54, a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report states. He picked a bottle of water out of the cooler, walked to the counter and asked for a pack of Marlboro Lights.
The reports says he handed the cashier just $1.06, then gave her a business card.
"I'm a Pasco County deputy," Daum told her, according to the report. "Sorry to do this to you. You can call the Sheriff's Office if you want."
On the back of the business card was a handwritten note:
"Pasco County Deputy Griefenberger [sic]
Pasco County Sheriff
Marlboro Lights $6.06
Thanks, Deputy Griefenberger!"
He took the cigarettes and the water and left, headed west toward a nearby Walmart, the report states. The cashier followed him outside and told him he had to pay, the report states, but Daum kept walking.
Another deputy caught up with Daum, who told a different story. He said he went into the convenience store, asked for the cigarettes, put his $1.06 on the counter and told the cashier, "This is all the money I have. I want you to call Deputy Greifenberger. I'm sorry I have to do this," the report states.
The deputy arrested Daum on charges of retail theft and impersonating an officer. He was released Friday from Land O'Lakes jail on his own recognizance.
The real Greifenberger says he met Daum on Tuesday at Holy Ground homeless shelter when Daum was found in a missing person investigation.
Greifenberger said Daum's wife planned to call his supervisor and praise his efforts in finding her husband. Daum wrote Greifenberger's name down on a business card to remember it.
Greifenberger said he usually tells people to call if they need anything, but "usually that's for police reports, not for them to call us to buy cigarettes for them when they run out of money."
Besides, he said, new Pasco deputies aren't allowed to smoke.
Alex Orlando can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 869-6247.