A 34-year-old man who’s lived in Beaufort and Jasper counties was arrested Saturday night in North Carolina after he pretended to be a federal investigator, local law enforcement officials say. It wasn’t the first time he’s faced those charges.
The day before his arrest, CMPD officers responded to the scene of a car crash.
When they arrived, they saw a man — later identified as Jones — directing traffic and cleaning debris out of the roadway, CMPD Lt. Allen Greene said at a news conference.
Jones was wearing a shirt that said “federal investigator,” had a firearm on his hip and a badge on his belt, Greene said.
“We didn’t think anything of it at that point,” he said. Jones “claimed he was a federal investigator.”
After the crash, Jones went out of his way to continue talking with officers. He told them that his name was Christopher Jones, and he works in South Carolina as a human trafficking investigator, Greene said.
Eventually, the officers realized the details of his stories weren’t “adding up.”
CMPD began investigating, and, within a day, discovered Jones’ real identity, that he was not a federal officer, and that he had previously been convicted of impersonating a police officer in South Carolina.
Officers arrested the man and searched his home and car, where they found an AR-15 rifle, FBI and DEA badges, a tactical vest with an FBI label on it, police-style blue and red lights, a computer mount and computer similar to those in patrol cars, a police radio, and “clothing similar to what detectives or federal investigators might wear in a plain clothes situation,” according to CMPD.
“Great work by real officers allowed us to arrest him,” CMPD Capt. Brad Koch said at the news conference. “It really sickens my heart that there are people out there that want to take the shortcut and presumably to cause harm to the community.”
According to a S.C. Law Enforcement Division criminal background check, Jones was arrested in April 2003 and charged with impersonating an officer in Beaufort County. He later pleaded guilty to that charge, according to court documents.
Jones’ motive and current address are unclear.
The investigation is ongoing, Greene said, and now includes surrounding states.