How was a man able to impersonate a DEA agent? As it turns out, you can get a fake badge easily.

Friday, May 31, 2019
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

Marshall Thompson has been accused of impersonating a DEA agent. (Source: Richmond County Sheriff's Department)

RICHMOND COUNTY, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- People are sounding off on social media saying they think they've seen or heard about a man pulling people over posing as a federal officer.

Marshall Thompson was arrested after Richmond County deputies pulled him over for speeding.

[RELATED: Waynesboro man, 32, arrested for impersonating DEA agent

Thompson told them he was DEA agent, but they found he had no connection to the DEA or to any other law enforcement agency.

We're not sure how long Thompson has supposedly been doing this, but several people on social media claim he's pulled them over in a car decked out with blue and red lights -- which isn't cheap.

“He spent a lot of money for this,” M. Steven Fishman, owner of Sidney’s Department Store and Uniform, said.

When you look at this truck you might think it's an undercover police car, but it's fake.

"He could put $400, he could put $1,000 or more into those series of lights,” Fishman said.

Thompson allegedly fooled plenty of people.

“There's something wrong with someone who does that,” Fishman said, “and it's even something more wrong with someone who thinks he can get away with that."

Impersonating law enforcement is more than a slap on the wrist. It’s a felony.

In Fishman’s store, you'll find knives, fire arms, and even uniforms for the sheriff's office. Not to mention a selection of badges, that from a distance, can look real.

"I don't sell badges that say ‘Police’ on them, or ‘Sheriff’s deputy’ or anything like that, and if I do order a badge for a department or sheriff’s deputy they got to show the credentials beforehand,” Fishman said.

Thompson was caught carrying around a US Marshal’s badge and gun in his car -- a badge Fishman says can be easily bought online.

"The reason police officers are so interested in stopping this type of crime is because it compromises their position in society and it means that it is no longer safe to talk to a police officer,” Fishman said.

As a former deputy of 38 years, Fishman says this is not a new problem.

“I have pulled badges off of people that I have stopped in the past,” Fishman said.

The best advice from Fishman is to trust your instinct. It doesn't hurt to call 911 if you feel unsure or unsafe when a car with flashing lights is trying to pull you over.

Copyright 2019 WRDW/WAGT. All rights reserved