On the night of Tuesday, December 29th, at approximately 9:25 pm, Deputies with the Alexander County Sheriff’s Office responded to the Wittenburg Wildlife Access off Shiloh Church Road in the Bethlehem Community. This followed a complaint involving an individual who was approached in the parking lot of the Access Area by a subject who presented a badge and claimed to be a Sheriffs Deputy.
Deputies spoke with two individuals who stated that they were seated in a vehicle when a white male on foot approached the passenger side of their car with a flash light asking what they were doing. The subject showed him a badge, stated he worked for the Sheriff’s Office and stated that there had been break ins in the area. He stated that he was part of a stake-out operation with others watching the area from the woods. He was wearing dark colored clothing with a diver patch on the jacket and was believed to be driving a beige Ford truck with a camper shell. The reporting person believed that the individual was impersonating an officer and requested to see his law enforcement identification. A verbal altercation began between the subject and the reporting party who then left and contacted the Alexander Co. Sheriff’s Office Communications Center to ask if there was in fact officers working an operation in the area of Wildlife Access. It was determined that no such operation was ongoing and a deputy responded to the scene to meet with the caller.Further investigation identified the suspect as Timothy Bryan Stafford, age 38 of Bethlehem. The investigation also revealed that Stafford was not in fact a sworn law enforcement officer. Stafford was arrested and charged with 2 counts of Impersonating a Law Enforcement Officer and 2 counts of 2nd Degree Kidnapping( due to the fact that the individuals in the vehicle did not feel they were free to leave during the encounter). He was confined in the Alexander County Detention Center and later released under $25,000.00 bond with a first court appearance of January 4th, 2021.
The investigation is continuing.