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It was an April Fool’s Day joke gone wrong.
A YouTube prankster who has 2 million combined subscribers was arrested and charged with impersonating a police officer.
According to the Sarasota County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office, 25-year-old Charles Ross—who runs the Ross Creations and Vlog Creations YouTube accounts—allegedly attempted to give a parking citation to a family outside of a Steak ‘N Shake restaurant in what was apparently an April Fool’s Day prank.
According to police:
The victim, who was carrying her two small children, challenged the suspect and questioned which agency he worked for, speaking loudly to draw attention to the situation. The suspect left the area but soon approached the victim again, while in his vehicle, and engaged in another argument. When the victim threatened to dial 911, the suspect fled the scene, nearly striking another car. At the time of the incident, the suspect was wearing a full law enforcement uniform and carrying a baton on his belt.
The mother told police that Ross got upset when the prank didn’t work, and he allegedly offered her concert tickets as compensation when he realized his actions weren’t working or appreciated. After he left the scene, the mother told police he briefly returned and insulted her.
AN #APRILFOOLS JOKE ENDS IN FELONY ARREST: 25-year-old Charles Ross was arrested after he approached a woman carrying two children in a parking lot & attempted to cite her on false traffic charges. Ross was wearing a full LE uniform and baton on his belt. https://t.co/KNpJrxaPf6
— SarasotaSheriff (@SarasotaSheriff) April 5, 2019
Police said Ross has been arrested before on a variety of charges, including obstruction, battery, disorderly conduct, and grand theft of a stop sign.
“It’s one thing to make a scene in an attempt to become famous on YouTube, but it’s another to put people on edge by pretending to be an officer of the law,” Sheriff Tom Knight said in a statement. “Given the tensions surrounding our line of work these days, this defendant has a clear lack of [judgment] and disrespect for our community and our profession.”
On his YouTube description, Ross wrote, “I desire that nobody feels attacked or upset as a result of our jokes, yet realize that this does happen sometimes because of taking risks and intentional, continuous effort to entertain with the values listed above.”
Ross posted a new vlog on Monday, titled “Assuming People Are Dead,” during which he placed headstones and flower bouquets near people sleeping on the beach.
Ross did not immediately respond to a Daily Dot request for comment.
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Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.