A mayoral candidate in Miami was arrested on Friday and accused of impersonating a law enforcement officer, authorities said.
Francisco “Frank” Pichel, 59, turned himself in on a warrant for allegedly impersonating a Monroe County Sheriff’s deputy, the department said in a statement. He was released after posting a $5,000 bail.
According to the sheriff’s office, the incident occurred on May 30. Two men noticed a white BMW parked in front of a residence, and the driver was later identified as Pichel.
When the men asked Pichel what he was doing, Pichel displayed a gold law enforcement badge identifying him as a Monroe County Police Officer. He stated that he was working a case and was waiting for another officer to relieve him, the statement said.
The men went back inside and the BMW left. The men then contacted a neighbor, who said that a man matching the description approached him at his home while he was working on a boat.
The neighbor, alter identified as Pichel, had asked if the man knew a contractor. Pichel left after the man said that he did not know the contractor.
Pichel has no history of working for the Monroe County Sheriff’s office.
The Miami Herald first reported on Thursday that a judge signed an arrest warrant for Pichel, who is running to replace Miami Mayor Francis SuarezFrancis SuarezHillicon Valley — Immigrants being put in surveillance programs Miami residents to receive city cryptocurrency proceeds, mayor says Hillicon Valley — Presented by LookingGlass — Congress makes technology policy moves MORE (R) in November.
The newspaper reported that Pichel had been asked to surrender, which he had not at the time. Pichel’s attorney Matthew Baldwin said he would.
The Hill has reached out to Baldwin for comment.
According to the Herald, the warrant came after Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo wrote a memo last week accusing Pichel of trying to dig up dirt on elected officials.