Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested two Mulberry residents Tuesday, July 22, 2014, charging them with Impersonating a Law Enforcement Officer, Petit Theft, Fraudulent Charitable Solicitation and Fraud.
Arrested were 46-year-old Earl Lee Tournear, and 41-year-old Heather Lea Lockyer, both reside at 147 10th Drive NW, Mulberry. Both were booked into the Polk County jail late Tuesday night.
Deputies were called to the SUNOCO convenience store, 1285 North Church Avenue, Mulberry, after a series of suspicious phone calls and events had taken place regarding individuals who claimed to be associated with the PCSO.
At approximately 11:45 am, on Tuesday morning, a man telephoned the convenience store advising a clerk who answered the phone he was “Officer Rogers” with the PCSO, and he was trying to “raise funds” for the agency. Recognizing the voice as a regular customer in the store, the clerk handed the phone to the store owner.
When the owner answered the phone, the man once again identified himself as “Officer Rogers” and asked about a “donation.” The owner agreed to donate funds and asked how to make out the check. At that time, the man advised “checks are not accepted and only cash or a cashier’s check” could be accepted.
The owner becoming suspicious requested the donation be collected in person at the store. The male identifying himself as “Officer Rogers” told the owner he would send a “female employee” to collect the donation. When Heather Lockyer, a regular customer, entered the store, she advised she was there to collect the donation and had a receipt book and other paraphernalia which appeared to be associated with the PCSO. Lockyear was told the owner would have to make the donation and he was not present at the time, and Lockyer left, driving a white Dodge Charger. Shortly after Lockyer left, “Officer Rogers” called back asking if the owner had returned. The calls were repeated multiple times.
Detectives investigating located the white Dodge Charger and initiated a traffic stop locating both Lockyer and Tournear inside the car.
Through the investigation, detectives learned Tournear is employed by a fundraising business as a telemarketer and that Tournear works from his own residence selling advertisement space to businesses on behalf of organizations such as the Fraternal Order of Police. However, according to Tournear’s employer, Onit Enterprise, Tournear has never been authorized to contact any business inside of Polk County, nor was he authorized to collect donations. Lockyer is not employed by Omit Enterprise.
Both were booked into the Polk County jail without incident.
"Residents are reminded to verify every call in which someone is soliciting you for donations. If the organization is one you are familiar with, disconnect and call the organization directly to verify the activity. Never provide personal information over the phone, and never feel pressured to donate without first checking on the organization; and if the caller acts suspicious and begins to pressure you, hang up and report the call to law enforcement.”