FROSTPROOF, Fla. (WFLA) – A registered sex offender with a long history of arrests for impersonating law enforcement officers is back in jail, accused again of impersonating an officer.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested Thomas Manning Hook, 48, of Frostproof, on Thursday after deputies say he showed up to an investigation in a car with flashing lights and identified himself as a “Fugitive Recovery Agent.”
The PCSO says 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 also a registered sexual offender – the original crime occurred in South Carolina in 1992.
He was arrested on Thursday in Polk County after an unusual chain of events. At 8:40 p.m., Polk County Sheriff’s Office 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 man, later identified as Thomas Manning Hook, 48, got out of the car and offered to help deputies. The deputies on scene declined the offer and Hook got back into his vehicle and drove north on Highway 27 with the lights still activated.
When Hook 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 said Hook 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 then 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 deputy’s patrol car. 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 and 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 and a “law enforcement detective.” He also had cards that identified him as a member of veteran’s groups and as a member of the clergy. One card identified him as a retired major in the Marine Corps, according to investigators.
Hook’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, Hook first said he was a licensed private investigator in South Carolina. He 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.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives arrested Hook and charged 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 Officerand Illegal Use of Police Insignia/Badge.
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. According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Ofice, 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.