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Authorities: North Forsyth businessman had unauthorized patrol car markings
Charles M Turner III

GAINESVILLE — A north Forsyth businessman faces a misdemeanor charge after Hall County Sheriff’s Office deputies spotted a surplus vehicle with Hall County markings at his home, according to authorities.

Charles McElroy Turner III, 46, was charged with having markings of a law enforcement vehicle.

Deputies responded April 10 to 2200 Martins Ford Road in northern Hall County, regarding a domestic dispute, according to Nicole Bailes, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office.

“When deputies arrived to address the domestic call, they encountered on the driveway a small sign that read police checkpoint ahead,” Bailes wrote in an email. “There was also a [2000] Crown Victoria vehicle that had been stripped and Hall County lettering placed on the vehicle.”

Investigators discovered the car had been purchased through, where surplus vehicles are sold.

Turner said his company, Corporate Auto Brokers on Browns Bridge Road in northern Forsyth County, purchased the vehicle at auction and that the car has been there for years.

“I took a marked car that we had purchased at auction and put it in my driveway to try and keep people from coming down there,” Turner said.

Bailes said all of the markings and equipment were removed when the vehicle sold at auction.

“The investigation did not reveal that Turner was using this vehicle to conduct traffic stops or engage in an official capacity,” Bailes said. “However, the markings that were added to the vehicle were not authorized.”

Turner said he did so for his own safety and cited previous safety concerns in his neighborhood, adding that he was unaware having the car there would be against the law.

“It takes them over 20 minutes to get to my house when you dial 911,” Turner said.

Turner turned himself in to the Hall County Jail on Friday and was released on a $1,300 bond.

“The vehicle was seized until Turner could arrange to have the markings removed from the vehicle,” Bailes said.

The incident was not Turner’s first brush with the law. In 2011, he was charged by the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office with impersonating a police officer and two counts of false imprisonment.

The charges, which Forsyth County News accounts show were reduced to two counts of disorderly conduct as part of a plea deal in October 2012, stemmed from roadside confrontation involving two teenage girls.

As part of his guilty plea, Turner was ordered to spend 24 months on probation and perform 250 hours of community service. He also had to write apology letters to the teens and pay a $1,000 fine.

In addition, he was directed to have no involvement in any law enforcement activities.

Turner had previously offered his helicopter, which he no longer owns, to assist local agencies, including a drug task force and the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s Office.

The teens, ages 17 and 16 at the time, reported that Turner had flashed a Lumpkin County Sheriff's Office badge at them on Jan. 22, 2011, after they pulled out of a grocery store parking lot on Hwy. 306.

Authorities said the teens apparently got too close to Turner's white van, which was marked on the side with his company logo.

The symbol is a seven-pointed star with the state seal that looks similar to a police badge.