Man posing as Cape Coral cop brandished gun at victim during road rage incident

CAPE CORAL, FL – A man was arrested after pointing a gun at a victim during a road rage incident, then later falsely claiming to be a police officer.

On Thursday December 10th at around 9:00 a.m., the Cape Coral Police Department’s Telephone Response Unit received a call about a road rage incident that had occurred an hour prior. The victim stated he had been making a U-turn at the intersection of Santa Barbara Boulevard and Tropicana Parkway to head south when a sport utility vehicle tailgated him, then pulled alongside him and swerved toward him. The victim then said the SUV driver pointed a black pistol at him. He pulled over to avoid the threat, then saw the SUV pull into the parking lot of Sam’s Club at 301 SW Pine Island Road.

The victim entered the lot in an attempt to read the SUV’s plate, obtaining a number and seeing a white male approximately 6 feet tall, openly carrying a pistol on his hip. The victim was then approached by a witness who had witnessed the road rage incident, and who had approached the gun-carrying suspect at the Sam’s gas pumps to tell him he could not open carry in Florida. The suspect told the witness he was a law enforcement officer, and provided the witness with his name.

Through strong interviewing and investigative work by the officer who took the initial call and later follow-up by Major Crimes detectives, the suspect was identified as Thomas Bartlett (W/M, DOB: 8-6-61) and probable cause was developed for Bartlett’s arrest on several charges: aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, improper exhibition of a firearm, false personation of a law enforcement officer, and open carrying of a weapon.

Bartlett was located the next day (December 11th) at his home and placed under arrest. He was then transported to the Lee County Jail.

The Cape Coral Police Department would like to stress the importance of contacting police immediately if in a similar situation. Quick contact and a quick police response can keep all parties involved safer and avoid any escalation or further danger.