A man posing as a law enforcement leader in Tuscaloosa County has been arrested after he allegedly stole $30,000 from a person he deceived.

Deputy Jessica McDaniel, a spokesperson for the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff's Office, said investigators were alerted to the scam last week.

McDaniel said a person told police they were contacted via telephone by a person who claimed to be Lieutenant Jack Kennedy - the very real commander of the Tuscaloosa Violent Crimes Unit - although his rank is technically captain.

(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)
(Stephen Dethrage | Tuscaloosa Thread)
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The suspect reportedly told the victim they were wanted for failure to appear in court and said they would have to pay $30,000 cash to avoid being arrested.

The victim reportedly met 24-year-old Tobias Makenzie Smith at a public place and handed over $30,000 cash, but alerted TCSO to the exchange, which took place on December 29th.

A day later, deputies had a search warrant in hand and found Smith with all but $750 of the missing cash.

The 24-year-old Tuscaloosa man was arrested and charged for Theft of Property First Degree. A bond was set at $5,000.00.

McDaniel said additional charges may be expected as the investigation is ongoing, and Tuscaloosa County Sheriff Ron Abernathy said he wanted to take this opportunity to alert residents of phone scams like this.

"Legitimate law enforcement agencies will never call and demand that fines or fees be paid," she said.

For more coverage of crime and courts in West Alabama, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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