Matt Pitt at his last court appearance in September 2012. He pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of "attempting to impersonate a peace officer." Source: WBRC video
BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -
Matt Pitt, the founder of The Basement youth ministry, is wanted for the second time in less than two years for impersonating a peace officer.
The Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has issued a warrant for Pitt's arrest stemming from an incident on June 15, 2013. Pitt was previously charged with the same offense in May 2012 and pleaded guilty to a lesser charge a few months later.
"The first time was shocking, you know, just really unbelievable. For it to happen a second time…we really don't know what to think," Jefferson County Chief Deputy Randy Christian said.
The sheriff's office says they have attempted to notify Pitt of his current outstanding warrant, but he is reportedly out of town.
"He is expected to surrender on this charge upon his return," Christian said in a release.
The sheriff's office says their deputies got a call on Saturday, June 15 about a man who was impersonating a law enforcement officer. Deputies responded to the area where the incident occurred, the 5200 block of Falling Creek Lane in the Grayson Valley area.
Around 6 p.m., a resident reported seeing a suspicious vehicle in front of a home around 4 p.m., and "people going back and forth between the vehicle and a nearby wooded area," the sheriff's office said.
The resident said he went to check it out and found a rifle hidden near the edge of the woods and no one else around. He then called the sheriff's office to tell them about finding the weapon.
The resident said while he was waiting, two men came up riding ATVs and one of them picked up the weapon.
The resident told them he had called the sheriff's office to report the weapon. When he asked the pair what they were doing, neither could give a "satisfactory answer," the sheriff's office said.
"According to the witness, at this point the suspect that had retrieved the rifle presented himself as a law enforcement officer," Christian said. That suspect was later positively identified as Matthew Pitt.
The resident said he believed they were really law enforcement officers, so he didn't ask any more questions. Pitt and the other man then drove off on their ATVs.
The sheriff's office investigated the case and detectives presented it to the Jefferson County District Attorney on Aug. 14. An arrest warrant was then issued for Larry Matthew Pitt on the charge of impersonating a peace officer.
This is the second time Pitt has faced this charge. Calera police officers arrested Pitt in May 2012 after they received reports that the driver of an unmarked SUV was pulling up behind other motorists and using blue lights to pass them.
At the time, responding officers reported that his SUV was equipped with lights similar to those used by law enforcement. An officer also reported that Pitt told Calera police that he was an officer in Jefferson County.
Impersonating a peace officer is a Class C felony and could have landed Pitt in the county jail for up to 12 months. Instead, he received two years of unsupervised probation for the lesser charge of "attempting to impersonate a peace officer," which was a misdemeanor.
The District Attorney has now revoked Pitt's probation for his last offense. The bond for his most recent charge is set at $15,000.