Man accused of impersonating deputy, taking kids’ skateboards

SAN DIEGO — A man accused of pretending to be a sheriff’s deputy around Vista — handing out fake business cards, confiscating skateboards from kids and donning a fake badge and belt — was arrested Thursday by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Abraham Joseph Nava, 24, is no stranger to fake law enforcement claims, either. In 2015, he was arrested for planting and reporting fake explosives at a Carlsbad mall where he worked as a security guard, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported.

The Sheriff’s Department said this time they turned their attention to Nava after getting reports about a suspicious person interacting with residents and claiming to be an undercover deputy sheriff. Investigators took the case and interviewed employees at businesses along Main Street in Vista, where they heard reports of a man passing out business cards and talking to kids in the area.

In one instance, investigators learned the so-called deputy had detained and taken skateboards from two minors.

The department gathered enough evidence to obtain a search warrant for Nava’s Wave Drive home, where they found fake Sheriff’s Department business cards and uniform items. During the search, investigators say Nava admitted to impersonating a deputy. He was booked into Vista Detention Facility on false imprisonment and false impersonation charges, and held on $110,000 bail.

The Sheriff’s Department investigation is ongoing, and the department asked anyone with information to contact them at (760) 940-4551, or to contact Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.