Calera PD report sheds light on"The Basement" founder's arrest

Calera PD report sheds light on "The Basement" founder's arrest

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Source: Shelby County Sheriff's Office Source: Shelby County Sheriff's Office
CALERA, AL (WBRC) -

The Calera Police Department has released a report detailing the arrest of "The Basement" founder Matt Pitt just before midnight Friday, May 11.

He was charged with impersonating a peace officer and booked into the Shelby County Jail Saturday, May 12 on a $10,000 bond. Pitt was later bonded out of jail.

According to the report:

5/11/2012 at 11:57 p.m. the Calera police department received a complaint about an unmarked Tahoe on I-65 pulling behind traffic and activating emergency flashing blue lights. The complaintant said that once traffic began to pull over the SUV would turn off the blue lights and speed around the traffic and that the vehicle had done this several times.

Calera police officers stopped the suspect vehicle on I-65 in Calera. When officers approached the vehicle Larry [Matthew] Pitt held up his wallet displaying a badge and photo ID card. Officers asked Pitt if he was an officer and he stated he was a deputy with Jefferson County Sheriff's Office. The vehicle Larry Pitt was not registered to any governmental agency, but was equipped with multiple working LED flashing blue lights in the fog lights, grill, front windshield and back window.

The vehicle was also equipped with a working audible emergency siren. It was verified that Pitt was not a certified law enforcement officer. Pitt was arrested on scene for impersonating a peace officer and transported to the Shelby County Jail.

[Click here to view the full police report.]

Calera Police Chief Sean Lemley says this is a serious violation, especially in light of other deadly cases in the country right now involving police impersonators. Chief Lemley said situations like this cause problems not only for law enforcement officers but for the public as well.

"If we'd let him go down the road and cause an accident, then we'd be blamed for not doing our job," Chief Lemley told Fox 6.

Lemley says the person who called in the report to police thought he was being pulled over by the Tahoe with flashing blue lights.

"Once he got off the road, the tahoe turned off the lights and went around him at a high rate of speed," Lemley said.

Lemley said Calera officers pulled over the vehicle and Matt Pitt was in the driver's seat.

"When we made the traffic stop, he did display a badge, and showed it to the officers as well as a photo ID card which looked similar to a law enforcement officer photo ID card," Lemley said.

Chief Lemley says the vehicle's working emergency siren was not being used. Lemley said while he applauds the work Pitt does through his faith-based group, this was a dangerous mistake on Pitt's part.

FOX6 News spoke with Pitt's father Larry earlier Thursday who also said that the incident was a "misunderstanding" and that the family was working on releasing a statement.

Fox 6 has made attempts to speak with Matt Pitt but those attempts have not yet been successful.

Pitt is originally from Roebuck and according to his website biography he battled drug addiction in college. One night his father sat him down in their basement and said Matt had to make a choice: give up his addictions or live homelessly.

Pitt says that's when he felt the presence of the Lord in their basement and he began a movement that has spread across the country. Pitt travels nationwide sharing his story and reminding youth God loves them.

Just two days before his arrest, Pitt hosted one of his events at Boutwell Auditorium. Wednesday night, Pitt was hanging out with Reverend Billy Graham in North Carolina. He tweeted a picture of the two of them.

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