A Marshville man is facing criminal charges from three different agencies after police said he stole a uniform and impersonated an officer.
Officers said Christopher Melton turned himself in to the Union County Jail on Friday after the charges were filed.
Police said the investigation revealed that in late April, Melton broke into a police cruiser in Red Springs, N.C. - which is more than 75 miles east of Marshville - and stole a Taser, handcuffs and a uniform.
The Red Springs Police Department had just recently recommended Melton for application into Basic Law Enforcement Training, the department's chief told Eyewitness News.
"He had a clean criminal record...I thought the world of him," Chief Patterson said.
But authorities said a week later, Melton donned the officer's uniform, and armed with a gun, walked into Shooters' Bar & Grill in Marshville and identified himself as an officer of the law.
"He said he was with the SBI, and that he was gonna check the restaurant out and make sure they were operating legitimately," said Chief Carl Webber.
Melton is a regular at the bar, and also owns a computer business across the street, according to the bar manager, Sylvia Bell.
Bell told Channel 9 she was shocked when Melton walked in wearing a uniform.
"I said you're joking me, I thought it was a joke the whole time...I asked him I said, have you been drinking? He said no," Bell said.
Employees eventually made Melton leave because he was illegally carrying a firearm in an establishment that sells alcohol, Chief Webber said.
Webber contacted the SBI, which launched a joint investigation with Marshville police, which led to the discovery of the theft of the officers' belongings in Red Springs.
Melton is facing charges of impersonating a law enforcement official, possession of a weapon in a bar, and possession of stolen property, authorities said.
Eyewitness News went to Melton's home and business Tuesday seeking comment, but was unable to reach him.
Webber said he believed Melton was truly motivated by his love of law enforcement, and potential new career.
"We think he was perhaps overexcited, exuberant you might say, to get on the job...I think it could very well end his career before it ever gets started," Webber said.