PALM COAST, Fla. – A 60-year-old man who walked out of a Palm Coast Publix without paying for potatoes and fish tried to get out of it by flashing a fake badge, according to the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office.
Leroy Stotelmyer is charged with shoplifting, resisting a merchant and impersonating a law enforcement officer.
According to deputies, Stotelmyer hid two boxes of potatoes and a grouper fillet in a reusable shopping bag and walked out without paying. When a store security guard stopped him, Stotelmyer said he didn’t have to pay and identified himself as a U.S. Marshal, deputies said.
Stotelmyer put the bag down and left the store, but when the guard followed him to the parking lot, Stotelmyer showed him a gold badge with United States Marshal on it in a black holder, deputies said.
When investigators confronted Stotelmyer at his home and told him the incident was caught on surveillance cameras, he admitted to trying to steal the food and that he has no connection to the U.S. Marshals, deputies said.
“This guy took a minor shoplifting charge and turned it into a felony by flashing a shiny gold badge, trying to get away with committing crimes,” Sheriff Rick Staly said. “Impersonating a law enforcement officer is a felony offense and will not be tolerated. I hope he learns his lesson. Our Patrol Units, PACE Unit, and Crime Analysts did a great job in stopping this guy before he did anything worse with his fake credentials.”
Stotelmyer was released from the Flagler County jail after posting $3,500 bond.
Investigators said they found a case from October in which Stotelmyer told a deputy who had pulled him over for a traffic offense that he was a Federal Air Marshal.