NEW PORT RICHEY — A Pasco County man discovered Tuesday that the old joke about cops and doughnuts may not be very funny.
Charles T. “Chuck” Barry, 48, of Trinity, was arrested Tuesday after flashing a gun and badge at a doughnut shop employee in an attempt to score a discount.
Barry claimed to be a law enforcement member, duping employees at Dunkin’ Donuts, 10829 State Road 54, multiple times, according to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office.
Barry, 2021 Blue Beech Court, is charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer and improper exhibition of a firearm. He was released from the Land O’ Lakes Jail Tuesday night after posting a $5,150 bond.
Barry, who the store manager described as a regular, visited the store last Wednesday, displaying a sheriff’s star badge and identifying himself as law enforcement.
When the store employee refused to offer a discount, according to deputies, Barry held up a loaded firearm in a holster and said, “See I am a cop.”
The clerk eventually gave Barry a 10 percent discount.
The gun is registered to Barry, while the badge he used belongs to his deceased father, a former law enforcement member in New Jersey, sheriff’s office Capt. James Mallo said.
Barry returned to the business’ drive-through the following day and his license plate number was written down.
At one point, Barry had his family in the car and received a discount on a large order for himself and his children, authorities said.
“Our policy is our members are not supposed to solicit anybody for a discount,” Pasco Sheriff’s Chris Nocco said. “If a business decides to give us a discount then we appreciate that, but under general orders, they are not allowed to solicit a business.”
On Tuesday, Barry returned to the store and deputies awaiting his arrival pulled him over and arrested him.
The store’s manager told investigators Barry, who has never had a career in law enforcement, also claimed he was a U.S. Marshal.
Nocco said what the store employee did was proper. He said it is fine to question a law enforcement member’s legitimacy to ensure they’re authentic.
“That’s the thing we’re always afraid of with these people that impersonate law enforcement officers… It’s Dunkin’ Donuts today, what (will it be) tomorrow,” Nocco said. “Is he going to pull someone over? What’s the next step after that? Is he going to hold someone under false arrest?”
The store’s manager was not allowed to speak to media members, but the company’s corporate office issued a statement: “Dunkin’ Donuts is aware of the incident that occurred in New Port Richey, Florida. The safety and well-being of our guests and crew members is important to Dunkin’ Donuts and we are pleased that the suspect has been apprehended.”
Wade Hanicker on his way into the store Wednesday for lunch was amused by the trickery.
“I don’t know why anyone would try and impersonate a cop like that,” he said. “Just for some doughnuts?”
When told the discount amount, Hanicker laughed and offered, “That ain’t worth it.”