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Police arrest man accused of impersonating a sheriff’s deputy after badge was stolen during car burglary

Crime Stoppers of El Paso

Daniel Borunda

El Paso Times

El Paso police arrested an 18-year-old man accused of claiming to be an El Paso County sheriff’s deputy after a badge was stolen during a car burglary.

The case was featured as Crime Stoppers of El Paso’s Crime of the Week this week.

Thomas Ethan Zane Black was arrested this week on charges of burglary of a vehicle and impersonating a public servant, according to El Paso County Jail records.

On Thursday, Black appeared before Jail Magistrate Judge Humberto Acosta during an online video-conference bond hearing from the Downtown jail.

Black is accused of stealing the badge from a deputy’s parked car on June 23 in an East Side neighborhood.

Black later was seen “scoping out” another car when he was confronted by a homeowner, Assistant District Attorney Adam Chevrier said at the hearing. Black allegedly flashed the stolen badge and claimed to be a deputy conducting an investigation.

Crime Stoppers released photos showing a young man in shorts, a tank top and a backwards baseball cap displaying the badge.

“Based on these allegations, you managed to take something that was arguably minor and turned it into something that’s now a felony,” Acosta, the magistrate judge, told Black at the hearing.

Burglary of a vehicle is a Class A misdemeanor. Impersonating a public servant is a felony in the state of Texas.

Black, of the 800 block of Bob Neil Drive in San Elizario, was booked into jail on Tuesday under a total bond of $11,000, according to a jail log.

Acosta warned Black to “stay out of trouble” and ordered that he be freed on supervised release on a personal recognizance bond pending trial, including with the condition of not been allowed within 200 yards of the victims’ homes.


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