Raleigh Man Impersonates Officer to Buy a Gun, Meets a Real Officer

| by Dabney Bailey
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Jonathan Wesley Harris, 25, of North Carolina has been enacting an elaborate farce to convince others he was a sheriff with the local Wake County Sheriff’s Office.

According to reports, Harris told Ben Martin, a local, that he was a sworn law enforcement officer on administrative leave. Harris conveyed this both verbally and through emails. Harris really went the whole nine yards during the charade. He also described events wherein he had arrested other people and he also partially displayed a gold star badge with the letters “Deputy She” plainly visible.

Apparently things did not quite add up, though, because Martin contacted the authorities. The real sheriffs promptly threw the fake sheriff in cuffs and hauled him off to jail, where he was charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer. He is being held on a $4,000 bond.

Investigators believe that Harris was impersonating an officer so that he could purchase a firearm from Harris. It is unclear why Harris felt that he needed to go through the charade, but it might have had something to do with a less-than-spotless criminal record. North Carolina residents must acquire a pistol purchase permit from a sheriff, and in order to get that permit they must pass a background check. If Martin had believed that he was selling a firearm directly to a sheriff, then he might not have asked for a gun purchase permit.

The one bit of good news for Harris is that the authorities got to him before he began the final phase of his plan. If the authorities had waited a few more days, they might have had enough evidence to charge Harris for attempting to illegally purchase a firearm in addition to the impersonating an officer charge.

What are your thoughts on this? Are police officers doing a good job of catching criminals, or do you think that all of this should have been avoided by ditching restrictive gun purchase laws?

Source: News Observer