Man Impersonating Police Pulls Over Real Detectives

A local man is charged with falsely impersonating an officer and unlawfully using police insignia after he allegedly tried to pull over a pair of detectives.

John Arthur Benedict, 69, was arrested on Saturday.

He had been driving a white, Ford Crown Victoria with strobe lights, a spot light and "police interceptor" markings that were "consistent with an official unmarked law enforcement patrol vehicle," according to a Lee County Sheriff's Office incident report.

The report says that the undercover detectives - one of which who was off-duty - were in an unmarked Lee County Sheriff's Office SUV on Palm Beach Boulevard in Fort Myers when they saw a Crown Victoria behind them.

They thought it was law enforcement, according to the report, which says the Crown Victoria followed them closely and then activated lights.

"[The detective] who was driving pulled into the right hand lane to stop for the law enforcement officer," the report notes.

But as the detective pulled over he noticed the vehicle was actually not law enforcement and it continued to drive east into a supermarket parking lot.

The detective followed the vehicle into the parking lot and made contact with Benedict - asking him if he was law enforcement, according to the redacted report that doesn't show exactly how Benedict may have responded to them.

We spoke briefly on Monday with Benedict by phone. He said he has never done this before and described the incident as a "senior moment."

The detectives detained Benedict until other law enforcement arrived.

Benedict told authorities that he bought the "police interceptor" logo and installed it because he thought the vehicle was police edition, according to the report.

His son and ex-wife arrived on the scene and authorities say they were told by the ex-wife that Benedict had been arrested in another state before for impersonating an officer, according to the arrest report.

When we spoke Monday with Benedict he denied that claim.

Benedict's son told authorities that his father has assisted law enforcement using his personal car to help with traffic enforcement on crashes - activating his strobe lights in both Lee and Hendry counties, according to the report.

Benedict told authorities he had been driving east on Palm Beach Boulevard by Fort Myers Shores when he saw a black GMC Yukon speeding. He also told authorities he is not employed or currently volunteering for any law enforcement agency, according to the report.

Police say in the report that they impounded the vehicle pending forfeiture proceedings.


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