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On Thursday, June 23rd, 2016, Monroe County Sheriff’s Office investigators served a search warrant and arrested a suspect for impersonating a law enforcement officer and false imprisonment.

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Joshua Character (18) of Forsyth is accused of conducting an illegal traffic stop of a Yatesville, Georgia, man on Friday, June 17th, 2016, on Georgia Highway 83 south near Old Brent Road around 10pm. 

According to the victim, Character used emergency style vehicle lighting (red and clear LEDs) to stop the male before approaching the driver and accusing the driver of cutting him off on Lee Street in Forsyth, Georgia. The complainant stated that the vehicle activated its emergency lights, and the complainant believed it was an unmarked law enforcement vehicle. 

During the stop, Character allegedly falsely identified himself as a Sheriff’s Deputy and a firefighter; in fact, Character was in the process of becoming a volunteer firefighter for the Monroe County Fire Department. The complainant stated that Character held him roadside for several minutes, and even ordered the complainant to exit Georgia 83 South and travel to a former bar parking lot on Old Brent Road. 

At one point, the complainant allegedly requested to see Character’ badge or credentials, but Character was unable to produce either and left the scene after ordering the complainant to drive to a different location. Character is currently being held at the Monroe County Jail awaiting a bond hearing.

The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office would like to advise citizens that, in the event  you suspect that a vehicle is attempting to illegally stop you, and that vehicle is not a fully marked patrol car outfitted with at least some blue lights, you should do the following: (1) activate your emergency blinkers, (2) slow down, (3) call 911 and advise the dispatcher of your situation, (4) keep your hands on the steering wheel (so that an actual officer is not led to believe that you are concealing a weapon or other illegal items), (5) and continue on to a well-lit and populated area.