Though it may have started as an April Fool’s prank, a Bradenton man and YouTube personality is now facing criminal charges after deputies say he tried to cite a woman for traffic violations while wearing a police uniform.
The problem, officials say, is he is not a law enforcement officer. Rather, his occupation on jail records is listed as “entertainer” and he is known for creating and filming odd situations in the area for YouTube.
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office shared surveillance video of a man later identified as 25-year-old Charles Ross approaching a woman with her two children in a parking lot just before 4 p.m. on April 1.
The woman told investigators she was at her vehicle in the 4200 block of Cattlemen Road when she saw a man who she thought was an officer standing behind her writing in a notebook, according to the probable cause affidavit.
Ross, of Bradenton, tried to cite a woman for false traffic charges while in full uniform, described in the affidavit as a blue uniform shirt with gold chevrons (indicating a sergeant rank), uniform pants, a police-style hat with a badge and carrying a baton on his belt.
According to the affidavit, Ross told the woman he was going to have to write her a ticket and looked to see if the spot she parked in was one designated for handicap use. The woman realized she was not and asked which agency Ross worked for, and she told deputies she became scared for her safety.
She told deputies Ross became more aggressive with her before he said it was a prank and offered her concert tickets.
Ross went back to his vehicle but drove past the woman on his way out of the parking lot, she told deputies.
The woman took a picture of the white minivan as it drove away, and deputies determined the vehicle belonged to Ross, according to the affidavit. Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight commended the woman during a news conference for taking action.
Deputies tried to contact him at his last known Bradenton address, but he was not there. He was arrested Wednesday in Sarasota and has since been released on a $10,000 bond, jail records show. Ross faces charges of impersonating a police officer.
“We don’t think it’s funny when he puts on a costume like this and confronts a mother of two children in a parking lot,” Sheriff Knight said during a news conference.
“Ross is known in the area to film pranks for you YouTube channel, RossCreations,” the affidavit noted. RossCreations has over 1 million subscribers on YouTube. The description of the channel says “Combining comedy, courage, and creativity: Ross can’t help but push the limits as he struggles to find his place in society. You’re free to live vicariously through him as he disguises his stupidity as ‘entertainment, pranks, and stunts.’ ”
When he was 18, Ross was arrested after he was allegedly “grabbing people by the pants and pulling them up hard,” giving them “wedgies” at a movie theater.
Ross has multiple previous arrests in Manatee County, including grand theft of a stop sign in March 2017 and battery in April 2014 and January 2013.
“Your adolescent behavior is becoming old. It’s tying up our resources. It’s costing money. It’s costing the criminal justice system money to take care of these things,” Knight said, addressing Ross in a news conference.
Knight also encouraged anyone else who may have been approached by Ross or saw him while he was wearing the police uniform to reach out to the sheriff’s office.
“He’s doing more and more things to escalate his behavior and somebody’s going to get hurt,” Knight said.
Knight repeatedly referred to an incident where Ross did a flip over deputies and filmed it. The video, which shows deputies putting Ross in handcuffs at the end, has more than 11 million views.