A Florida driver whose truck has the words “BOOTY PATROL” written on its side has been accused of “impersonating law enforcement.”
Of course, whether Gabriel Luviano, 18, was actually “impersonating law enforcement” remains unclear.
What’s known is that the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office believes Luviano has been “impersonating law enforcement” because his truck looks very similar to the trucks used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.
“Luviano’s truck features a green diagonal stripe, an official-looking federal emblem and red and blue flashing lights on its dashboard — making it easy to mistake for a US Border Patrol vehicle if not for the word ‘BOOTY PATROL’ written in large capital letters and ‘National Booty Behavior Protection’ plastered on the side,” according to the New York Post.
That said, the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office seems to suspect that Luviano really has been impersonating the cops.
“If you or anyone you know has been pulled over by this suspicious vehicle or has any information related to these incidents, please do not hesitate to reach out to the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigative Division, at 863-993-4700,” the office wrote in a Facebook post published on Monday.
The DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office is reaching out to raise awareness about a vehicle equipped with red and blue lights…
The post was published a day after Luviano was pulled over during a traffic stop and issued a citation for having prohibited lights on his car.
“On Sunday, October 29, 2023, the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office successfully located both the vehicle and the driver involved in the recent incident of a vehicle impersonating law enforcement. Our law enforcement deputies conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle, and deputies issued a citation for violating FSS 316.2397, which pertains to Certain Lights Prohibited,” another Facebook post from the office reads.
“We want to emphasize that DCSO located the vehicle on Sunday, and our initial post aimed to raise awareness about this incident, ensuring that the public can avoid being duped by such individuals. We extend our sincere gratitude to everyone who called in with information about the suspicious vehicle, as your continued support is crucial in helping us maintain a safe and secure community for our residents,” it continues.
On Sunday, October 29, 2023, the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office successfully located both the vehicle and…
Luviano for his part has claimed he was just trying to have some fun.
“Was your intention in building this truck to make it look like you’re impersonating a police officer?” he was asked by Fort Myers station WBBH.
“No, it wasn’t. It was just to have a little fun, you know? It was never my intent to pull over people or nothing,” Luviano replied.
He added that he upgraded his truck after he got bored.
“I mean, the truck alone was like $7,500. Everything else, like another $5,000. I was just bored, you know? And I just decided on that,” he told WBBH.
As for the fun angle, he claimed that even cops — aside for those with the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Office — have shown him love over the truck.
“I have videos of cops coming up to me and they just want a picture,” he said.
“Lots of people like it. Some people hate it,” he added.
He also stressed that he’s never used the red/blue emergency lights while driving — only when parked on private property, e.g., at car shows.
With all this in mind, did he really deserve to be hassled by the cops? Many on social media don’t think so:
Let the man live!
— Brendon Leslie (@BrendonLeslie) November 2, 2023
This man did nothing wrong and should be commended
— Vlad (@OrwellsNotebook) November 2, 2023
Here we are where no one can laugh and have fun anymore ♀️
— Melinda (@DepMelinda) November 2, 2023
Whatever happened to freedom of expression or artistic license?
I guess the guy driving the Oscar Mayer winner mobile is next?!!
— just call me Creed (@80_grad) November 2, 2023
Freedom of expression.
This will get thrown out/found in the dudes favor. It’s going to follow the same lines as the parents that got their kid the car Barricade look alike S281 Mustang. Cops tried to mess with the kid but the kid and their parents won in court.
— Alyssa D (WalkedAway) (@AlyssaD1776) November 2, 2023
But asked by WBBH whether Luviano’s actions constitute “impersonating law enforcement,” veteran law enforcement officer turned Florida Gulf Coast University professor at David Thomas argued they kind of do.
“Oh, with the graphics package, absolutely. You’d have to see it in order for it to be considered illegal if that makes sense? They have to be on. They have to be activated. He’s definitely going to get stopped, he’s going to get cited for having those lights,” he said.
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