Polk County, Florida -- A Mulberry couple was arrested Tuesday evening after trying to impersonate a law enforcement officer at an establishment where the frequented regularly.
Polk County Sheriff's Office deputies were called to the Sunoco on North Church Avenue after a series of suspicious phone calls. Just before noon on Tuesday, Earl Lee Tournear called the Sunoco and told the clerk he was "Officer Rodgers" with the PCSO, and he was trying to "raise funds" for the agency.
Recognizing the voice as a regular customer in the store, the clerk handed the phone to the store owner.
When the owner answered the phone, Tournear once again identified himself as "Officer Rogers" and asked for a donation. The owner agreed to donate funds and asked how to make out the check. Tournear then said checks would not be accepted and only cash or a cashier's check would work.
At this point, the owner became suspicious and requested the donation be collected in person at the store so Tournear, still posing as "Officer Rodgers," said he would send a female employee to collect the donation. He then sent Hearther Lockyer, another regular customer to the store, who said she was there to collect the donation and had a receipt book and other paraphernalia which appeared to be associated with the PCSO.
Lockyear was told the owner was the only person who could make and since he was not currently there, she would have to come back. Lockyer left and shortly after "Officer Rogers" called back asking if the owner had returned.
The calls were repeated multiple times.
Detectives investigating located the white Dodge Charger Lockyer left in and initiated a traffic stop, finding both Lockyer and Tournear inside the car.
Through the investigation, detectives learned Tournear is a telemarketer working from home selling advertisement space to businesses on behalf of organizations such as the Fraternal Order of Police. However, according to Tournear's employer, Onit Enterprise, Tournear has never been authorized to contact any business inside of Polk County, nor was he authorized to collect donations. Lockyer is not employed by Omit Enterprise.
Both were booked into the Polk County jail without incident.