SARASOTA (WWSB) - A Bradenton man who deputies say is known to film pranks for his YouTube channel has taken a plea deal after he pretended to be a police officer.
Charles Ross will be on probation for six months for unlawful use of a badge, a first degree misdemeanor. He was initially facing felony impersonating a police officer charges.
Deputies say around 4pm on April 1st, a woman parked her car at Steak n’ Shake on Cattlemen Road in Sarasota and, while carrying her two children, was approached by a man wearing a blue uniform top complete with the gold chevrons indicating a rank of sergeant, uniform pants, a police-style hat, and a belt that had a baton attached to it.
The woman says the man displayed a badge and said, "Ma'am I'm going to have to write you a ticket." At first, the victim thought he was a real police officer and checked to see if she had inadvertently parked in a handicapped spot. But the victim hadn't and asked the man who he worked for.
The victim said she raised her voice to draw attention to herself and the man became more aggressive before telling the victim it was a prank and offering her “concert tickets.” The man eventually went back to his vehicle but then drove through the parking lot back to the victim to verbally harass her again. The victim threatened to call 911 and the man drove off.
Deputies spoke to a witness who confirmed the victim’s account. The witness told deputies she saw the man in what she thought was a security guard uniform, which she thought was odd because she knew the nearby Walmart does not have security. She said she heard the victim state, "A ticket? For what?" She didn't hear the man's response, but yelled to the victim she would call 911.
Deputies did respond, but by that time the man had left the area. Deputies were able to use surveillance video to identify the suspect’s license plate and trace it to Charles Ross, who is known in the area to film pranks for his YouTube channel “RossCreations.” Deputies also obtained this photo of the suspect:
Ross was arrested. “Entertainer” was listed under his occupation on his booking information with the sheriff’s office.
“It’s one thing to make a scene in an attempt to become famous on YouTube but it’s another to put people on edge by pretending to be an officer of the law,” commented Sheriff Knight. “Given the tensions surrounding our line of work these days, this defendant has a clear lack of judgement and disrespect for our community and our profession.”
Ross is no stranger to being arrested for his antics and deputies say he regularly records and posts content to social media involving “pranking” citizens and public officials.
Ross was arrested in January 2013 and charged with battery after giving people wedgies outside a movie theater in Bradenton. In that case, Ross pleaded guilty and was put on probation for six months. However, he completed all the conditions of his probation and it was ended after three months.
Below is the mug shot on file for Ross’s past arrests from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office:
He was then arrested again in March 2013 after jumping over deputies on a picnic table and charged with disorderly conduct. In that case, Ross was given a deferred prosecution agreement that stated as long as he kept himself out of trouble for three months, the charges would be dismissed. He also had to pay small fine and complete 15 hours of community service. Ross successfully completed the stipulations and his charges were dismissed in June 2013.
In April 2014, Ross was arrested after jumping on a parade float in Manatee County, pushing a victim to the ground. He was initially charged with battery, but three months later, action was filed with the court saying criminal charges will not be filed.
Ross was arrested again in March 2017 after removing stop signs from the intersection of 47th Street NW and Riverview Blvd in Manatee County. The stop signs were later replaced by Manatee County Public Works. Ross was charged with third degree grand theft, but he completed a pre-trial intervention program that included fees and community service and the charges were dismissed in August 2017.
Below is the intake video from Ross’s most recent arrest for allegedly impersonating a police officer:
As of April 2019, RossCreations had more than a million subscribers on YouTube, around 450,000 followers on Facebook, and 166,000 followers on Instagram. He once appeared on Tosh.0, a Comedy Central show, where he discussed his pranks, including those that led to some of his past arrests: