Man arrested for pretending to be a cop to a real cop
An Indiana man who is not a law enforcement officer was arrested during a traffic stop after he informed a University of Florida police officer that he was also a police officer from the University of Florida, according to court records.
André Delano Haden Kerley, 33 years old, caught the attention of Victor Beguiristain, a UF police officer, after weaving dangerously between vehicles as he headed north on Southwest 34th Street Friday night. Before being officially arrested, Kerley pulled over and got out of his car. When Beguiristain approached, Kerley complained that his tire was starving for air. He told Beguiristain that his car, a green Dodge Charger, was brand new and that he too was a police officer.
Kerley then held up a silver UF police badge belonging to one of Berguiristain’s colleagues, the report said. The UF police have about 90 officers, according to its website, and Berguiristain did not acknowledge it. He was immediately arrested for impersonating a law enforcement officer.
The badge Kerley held up was stolen from the personal vehicle of an officer he was hired to detail, according to an affidavit released Wednesday.
Hours before his arrest, Kerley tried to use the badge to score a free drink at the fountain and a bag of chips at the Gate gas station on Northwest 13th Street.
Kerley approached the counter wearing a gray short-sleeved hoodie with the badge affixed to his collar, the report said. With fries and a drink in hand, Kerley then asked the clerk to prepare the items. When the clerk told Kerley he had to be in uniform, Kerley told him, “I’m undercover. We are never in uniform.
Kerley then asked the clerk for his name so he could file a customer service complaint before returning to his green Dodge Charger flashing blue and red.
Kerley could not be reached for comment. The Alachua County Sheriff’s Office prohibits news organizations from interviewing inmates without signed approval from their defense attorney and the county jail warden.
Deborah Phillips, Kerley’s court-appointed attorney, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Kerley is being held in the Alachua County Jail on $12,000 bond.
This is not the first meeting between Kerley and the local authorities. On May 8, Kerley was arrested by Gainesville police for beating the manager of a nearby car wash after he was asked to leave the premises, according to an affidavit.
The manager identified Kerley as driving a green Dodge Charger with the word “Bama” displayed on the windshield. Kerley was released without bond the next day.
Although Kerley does not appear to have a criminal record, he has previously faced criminal charges for identity theft and assault. In June 2018, police in Deerfield, Illinois searched Kerley’s car after a traffic stop and found a personal bag filled with stolen ID and credit cards. While Kerley said he found them in a parking lot and intended to return them to their owners, investigators determined he was using the credit cards for personal gain. Prosecutors in Cook County, Illinois told the Chicago Tribune reporter that Kerley was wanted for a home battery charge.
Kerley negotiated a deferred prosecution agreement in the Deerfield case and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of identity theft. He was sentenced to two years probation and the identity theft charge was dismissed early last year, court records show. No record of a household battery charge was found during a search of Cook County court records.
While it’s unclear what ties, if any, Kerley has to the area, North Carolina records show he registered to vote in Charlotte in July 2018 – a month after he was arrested in Illinois. Kerley voted in the November election later that year, according to North Carolina voter rolls. An arrest form filed by UF police lists his current residence as a home in Indianapolis.
This isn’t the first report of a UF police officer having a stolen badge. In December 2020, two car burglaries occurred in a department parking lot on 2nd Avenue Southwest.
Among the items stolen were a police badge, a purse containing a Taurus .380 caliber handgun, credit cards, social security and passport cards and a “Hello Kitty” face mask. A person with knowledge of the crime told police that a shotgun was also stolen from a UF police patrol vehicle.
At least four robberies have occurred on the grounds since officers began parking there in 2020. The latest report was filed Friday evening, just hours after Kerley was arrested.