LAKELAND (FOX 13) - Polk County detectives have arrested a man for impersonating the owner of a well-known bar-b-que restaurant in Mulberry.
They say Jerome Jumper portrayed himself as Johnny Carter, owner of Johnny Carter's Bar-B-Que on State Road 60.
"For the people that he was scamming, I am super happy," Carter told FOX 13 News.
Detectives say dozens of people all over Polk County have fallen for Jumper's con. They say he tells his victims that he is Carter; that he is on his way to deliver food to the homeless, and needs a few bucks to fix his car which just broke down.
The scam had been working for months. Until he bumped into FOX 13 viewer Walt Cannoy who just happened to be walking his dog down Kentucky Avenue in Lakeland recently.
Cannoy had seen photos of the scammer on FOX 13 News. When he saw Jumper coming his way, something clicked.
"Based on the general impression I had of the photos, height, and build, I thought this has to be the same guy," said Cannoy.
When Jumper made essentially the same pitch to Cannoy that he had heard on TV, he knew this was the guy that cops were looking for. So, Cannoy called law enforcement, and Jumper was arrested.
"It had to be somebody," said Cannoy. "It was me."
Jumper was hauled off to jail, a place he knows well. He has been arrested dozens of times before.