Warning issued about suspicious phone calls

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office is warning all residents, but especially business owners and managers, about three suspicious incidents that recently have occurred and are under investigation.

In each case, a suspect called a local restaurant claiming to be a police officer reporting that another manager was under arrest, a Sheriff’s Office news release says. The caller claimed that he needed to set up a meeting place to receive bond money, so the manager in custody could be released from jail.

“To be clear, it is not a law enforcement practice to contact someone on behalf of an arrestee to arrange bond,” the news release says. In addition, bond would be arranged only at the jail or with a licensed bail agent at the agent’s office, Sheriff’s officers say.

Under Florida law, the person or persons perpetrating this crime can be charged with falsely impersonating an officer, a third-degree felony, or more, depending on the circumstances of the crime, the news release adds.

Anyone with information about this or similar crimes is encouraged to call Criminal Investigations at 941-861-4900 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers by calling 941-366-TIPS (8477), or to go online at www.sarasotacrimestoppers.com or to send a text message by texting TIP109 plus a message to CRIMES (274637).