ST. PETERSBURG – A local man is free on bond after his arrest for reportedly impersonating a police officer in an attempt to get free food at a local McDonald’s restaurant.
Joseph E. Pineda, 33, was booked into the Pinellas County Jail just after 3:30 p.m. Oct. 5. He was charged with falsely personating an officer of the law and improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon. He paid a surety bond of $10,500 to get out of jail just after noon Oct. 7.
The report from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s office gives a Pinellas Park address. Pineda’s booking report says he’s from St. Petersburg.
According to the sheriff’s report, the incident occurred at the drive through window of McDonald’s, 5464 66th St. N. in St. Petersburg about 1:43 p.m. Deputies said Pineda placed his order at the speaker. When the employee, Jeremy Schaeffer, 27, told him through the PA how much his order would cost, Pineda said he was a law enforcement officer, did not have his wallet with him and wanted his food free of charge.
When Pineda pulled around to the window, he told the manager, Tyrone Crouse, 41, the same story. Pineda repeated he was a police officer and added he had just come from a sting and did not have his wallet. Pineda then flashed his badge and showed a gun to Crouse.
Employees called 911. Deputies responded to the scene and made contact with Pineda, who was still inside his vehicle and had pulled forward at the drive through lane.
Deputies issued verbal commands for the suspect to show his hands and he did not comply. Deputies then challenged the subject at gunpoint, at which time he put his hands out of the window. Pineda was ordered out of the vehicle and was taken into custody.
Deputies found two badges and the gun, (a 45 caliber) in the center console of the vehicle. Pineda also had a holster on his person.