After carefully reading the news report, it appears the private investigator was legally licensed as a PI. It also appears that a witness second account indicates there was no badge and no impersonation of a police officer. Just the same, this is worth reading.
Private Investigator arrested for impersonating law enforcement officer
-- Man arrested for impersonating a law enforcement officer, but the charge might be bogus.
DESOTO COUNTY -- A private investigator from Tampa was charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer Tuesday after he approached a woman at her Arcadia home and allegedly flashed a badge.
According to Nancy D'Amato's original statement to the Arcadia Police Department, Eduardo Martinez rang her doorbell a few times but she didn't answer. When she looked out the window to see who was there, Martinez showed her a badge, identification and driver license, and told her he was an officer and that she could verify his credentials with the Sheriff's Office. D'Amato was on the phone at the time and told her friend she would have to call her back because she had to talk to a cop, a report stated.
The report says her friend immediately called D'Amato's niece, Barbara Alagrante, to tell her about the situation.
"I was getting nervous because she was all alone," said Alagrante. "He (Martinez) got on the phone and he was very arrogant with me. I said, 'Give me your badge number,' and he said, 'I don't have to give you any badge number.' So I asked him to tell me what police station he was from, and he said he didn't have to give me that, either.
"When he wouldn't give me his badge number, it triggered something in my head telling me something was wrong," Alagrante stated. She told her aunt to get out of the house immediately and called the APD.
In her report, APD officer Angie Allred said she arrived at D'Amato's address and found Martinez there. Allred said he showed her his wallet, which contained "a shield-type badge with an ID."
After taking D'Amato's statement, Martinez was placed under arrest.
On Wednesday morning, D'Amato gave a slightly less dramatic version of events.
D'Amato said she didn't see the badge and she didn't let him in her home. "He said he was looking for a Mexican fella, and he asked if I had seen him in the area, but I told him I hadn't seen him around here," said D'Amato. "He thought the guy lived around here, so he was sticking around to see if he can catch this fella."
D'Amato added, "He wasn't impersonating a police officer. What happened was, my niece called me while he was here and I said he was a police officer but he wasn't, he was a private investigator. They handcuffed him outside and everything, but they found out that he's legal. Unfortunately, the gentleman lost his job," said D'Amato.
"My niece misunderstood me and called the police to protect me, but it wasn't really a big deal," said D'Amato.
A spokeswoman for Martinez's employer, Hyperion Risk, said "We are aware of the situation, but at this time we do not have any comment."
The State Attorney's Office has not filed any charges yet.
Tampa PI arrested for allegedly flashing a badge & saying he was a cop?