SPRING HILL — James Mazurowski flashed a badge and told witnesses on Thursday that he was a police officer from Buffalo, N.Y. and a deputy U.S. marshal.
He was neither of those things, according to the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office. The 54-year-old Palm Harbor man was arrested on charges of two counts of impersonating a law enforcement officer and one count each of vehicular burglary, resisting a law enforcement officer without violence and leaving the scene of an accident.
The incident started when a woman called 911 from the Timber Pines gated neighborhood. She said her husband spotted a man in the parking lot of the fitness center rummaging through their golf cart, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
When the husband confronted Mazurowski, deputies say he showed him a badge and said he was a Buffalo Police Department officer. Mazurowski also had the man’s sunglasses and a nylon cupholder in his hand, deputies say.
When the man continued to question him, deputies say, Mazurowski said he was searching for someone. Then Mazurowski dropped the sunglasses and drove off in a tan-colored Lincoln SUV. Moments later, he struck a curb and damaged the vehicle.
Deputies pulled Mazurowski over before he was able to leave the parking lot. He told them he was a deputy U.S. marshal and he had to go, deputies say. He showed them a card that said he was a part of the Buffalo Special Police — civilians who help with community events.
When deputies called the Buffalo Police Department, they were told Mazurowski doesn’t belong to the program. Mazurowski used the badge to get into the gated community, deputies said.
Mazurowski also told deputies he was dropping off a rental vehicle to a customer who lives in Timber Pines. But the customer told deputies they had dropped off the SUV for repairs more than 40 miles away, at Auto Nation Lincoln of Clearwater at 2085 Gulf to Bay Blvd.
The SUV shouldn’t be damaged, deputies learned, and some money was missing from the center console. The customer said they were supposed to get their SUV back on Thursday.
Mazurowski was arrested and booked into the Hernando County Detention Center, where he was being held in lieu of $36,500 bail.