East Naples man accused of impersonating retired deputy

Reporter: Michelle Alvarez Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:

An East Naples man was arrested on Thursday after deputies say he used a fake ID and phony car equipment to impersonate a retired Mississippi deputy while intimidating other drivers.

According to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, Jack Bowles, 51, was arrested for impersonating a law enforcement officer. Deputies say he equipped his car to look like an unmarked police vehicle and was intimidating other drivers on I-75.

On March 9, a CCSO deputy saw Bowles aggressively tailgating vehicles on I-75 in a black 2019 Dodge Challenger. Bowles’ Challenger had antennae and radar devices mounted to the trunk. The car also had a handheld radio and open laptop on the inside, which was visible to the public because the windows were down.

The deputy saw Bowles follow dangerously close to several vehicles in an attempt to intimidate them. Bowles then did the same thing to the deputy’s unmarked vehicle before pulling alongside the deputy and shouting that he is a retired police officer.

Jack Bowles’ modified 2019 Dodge Charger. Credit: Collier County Sheriff’s Office

The CCSO deputy showed Bowles his badge and said patrol units were on the way to conduct a traffic stop. Bowles cut in front of the deputy as both cars exited the highway, forcing the deputy off the road.

Bowles exited his vehicle, shouted, “I am a retired police officer!” and showed an ID card from the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office in Mississippi. Bowles also had a badge with a seven-pointed star from the same agency.

The CCSO deputy took the ID and badge to examine it. Bowles then tried to take the items back and struggled with the deputy. Bowles was eventually handcuffed.

“He had his vehicle decked out to mimic what a law enforcement car would look like,” said Sergeant Brian Sawyer, with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

A follow-up investigation revealed Bowles was never a certified law enforcement officer in Mississippi, and he never worked for the Hinds County Sheriff’s Office. He was taken to the Naples Jail Center, facing a felony charge of impersonating a law enforcement officer and a misdemeanor charge of resisting an officer without violence.

Bowles didn’t just impersonate a police officer on the interstate. He kept it up after deputies arrested him. That did not sit well with the judge Friday afternoon. “You filed a claim that you are exempt from public records because you are a retired law enforcement officer. No sir. You are not. You understand?”

Bowles’ public defender said because his client only claimed to be a former officer, the felony charge was not appropriate. The judge shot that argument down too.

“The impersonation or portraying a law enforcement officer, that’s a felony. We take it seriously, and we want to make sure that those people that commit that act are identified, arrested, and held accountable as much as they can be,” said Sawyer.

Detectives ask anyone who had an encounter with Bowles in which he presented himself as a law enforcement officer to report it to CCSO at (239) 252-9300.

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