MONROE COUNTY, Fla. – Francisco “Frank” Pichel, who is running for mayor of the city of Miami, turned himself in to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Friday after a warrant was issued for his arrest for allegedly impersonating a law enforcement officer, authorities said.
Pichel, 59, was released from jail just before 3 a.m. after posting a $5,000 bond.
According to Monroe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Adam Linhardt, the incident in question occurred May 30 in the 100 block of Third Lane in Key Largo.
Linhardt said Pichel was sitting inside a white BMW that was parked for a long time in front of a home, so the resident and his friend approached Pichel to ask him what he was doing there.
Authorities said Pichel displayed a gold law enforcement badge and claimed that he was a “Monroe County police officer” who was working on a case.
“Don’t worry, I’m Monroe County,” Pichel is accused of telling the men before adding that he was waiting for another officer to relieve him.
Linhardt said the two men went back inside and Pichel drove away around the same time.
The two men then contacted a neighbor who told them a man matching the description of Pichel approached him in the rear of his home while he was working on his boat.
“The neighbor thought it was strange someone (would) walk onto another’s property that way,” Linhardt wrote in a news release. “The neighbor stated the man, later identified as Pichel, asked him if he knew a contractor named Freddie. The neighbor stated he did not and Pichel left.”
Authorities said surveillance video confirmed the three men’s version of events and authorities confirmed Pichel has never been employed by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
After detectives investigated the incident and reviewed the footage, a warrant was obtained for Pichel’s arrest.
“Incidents such as these always concern me as the safety of citizens continues to be my number one priority,” Sheriff Rick Ramsay said in a statement. “I want to thank the staff who worked on this case as well as our partners with Miami-Dade Police Department for their help.”