Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested 48-year-old Thomas Manning Hook, Otto Polk Road, Frostproof, on Thursday, September 10, 2015, charging him with Committing Criminal Actions Under the Color of Law to Hinder Public Officer’s Duties, Impersonation of a Bail Bondsman, and DWLSR; Hook was also charged with a Highland’s County warrant for Impersonation of Law Enforcement Officer, Illegal Use of Police Insignia/Badge, and one count of Failure to Comply with Sexual Offender Registration - (Internet Identifiers)
At approximately 8:40 pm, Thursday evening, PCSO deputies were conducting a traffic investigation involving a vehicle versus livestock in the area of Collany Lane and Highway 27. During the investigation, a Ford Crown Victoria pulled up to the scene, activated a set of red and white emergency lights, and a white male subject, later identified as Hook, got out of the car and offered to help deputies. The deputies on scene declined the offer and Thomas got back into his vehicle and drove north on Highway 27 with the lights still activated.
When Thomas pulled away, another vehicle approached the scene and the occupants identified themselves as deputies with the Highland’s County Sheriff’s Office. The HCSO deputies advised Thomas was wanted for impersonating a Law Enforcement Officer in their county and they had been following him when he stopped at the traffic crash site. Additional PCSO units responded to the area.
As additional deputies were arriving to assist, Hook returned to the crash scene; the flashing lights in his vehicle still activated. Hook stopped near one Sheriff’s patrol cars. As a deputy spoke with Hook, he (Hook) presented a wallet which had a gold Private Investigator Badge inside with “Chief” engraved on it. Hook presented the wallet with it open showing the badge and identified himself as a Fugitive Recovery Agent. There were multiple cards and identifications inside the wallet that identified him as a private investigator, a “law enforcement detective,” and membership to veteran’s groups and as a member of the clergy. One of the cards identified him as a retired Major in the Marine Corps. Thomas’s vehicle was equipped with a front push bar, emergency lights (red, blue, and white) in the front and rear windows, prisoner cage, caging over rear windows, spot light, and scanner.
When detectives asked Hook about the various identification cards, Hooks first said he was a licensed private investigator in South Carolina, then later recanted telling detectives he never claimed to be any of the things the cards indicated. He told deputies he has never been a major in the military.
Hook was transported to the Polk County Jail.
Hook’s Florida arrest history includes six felony arrest charges, four misdemeanor charges, and one failure to appear. Hook has been in state prison once. Hook has been in the Polk County jail twice; June 2010 for Knowingly DWLSR, Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon, Impersonating a Law Enforcement Officer and Unlawful Use of Police Badge, and again in June 2012, for two counts of Failure to Appear.
Hook’s history of impersonating a law enforcement officer spans several southeastern states; he has been arrested 13 times for impersonating a law enforcement officer. Hook is a registered sexual offender – the original crime occurred in South Carolina in 1992.
Below are links to articles published about some of Hook’s prior arrests:
The investigation is ongoing.
“Thomas Hook is not a law enforcement officer and he is currently in jail where he belongs. We urge anyone who may have had any interaction with Hook representing himself as a law enforcement officer to contact us.” Sheriff Grady Judd.
Sheriff Susan Benton is pleased that Hook in behind bars, “my biggest fear was that Hook was out just looking for an opportunity to possibly commit a crime while impersonating an officer. With is sexual offender background and the look-a-like police vehicle, I worried that this man could trick someone into the back seat of the caged vehicle. I want to thank the great cooperative effort between the deputies of both counties getting this dangerous man off the streets last night.”
If you have been approached by Hook and Hook has represented himself as a law enforcement officer in Polk County you are urged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 863-298-6200; for Highland’s County residents, please contact Detective Javier Martinez at 863.402.7200.