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Teen charged with impersonating officer

A Forsyth County teenager’s story about his odd behavior at a Duluth nightclub landed him in jail earlier this week.

Gwinnett County police charged James Foster Smiley, 18, of Strawberry Lane with one count each of impersonating a police officer and providing false statements.

He was released Monday night from the Gwinnett County Detention Center after posting $5,900 bond, according to jail records.

According to a Gwinnett police report, security at Wild Bill’s Atlanta told an off-duty officer working at the business Saturday night that Smiley had been there Sept. 9 acting as a member of law enforcement.

Several patrons complained that he had threatened to arrest them.

The report said Smiley was wearing boots, military-type pants, a large black belt and T-shirt with “Air Force” on the front and “federal agent” on the back.

Smiley maintained he was at the club as an off-duty member of the Air Force and denied threatening to arrest anyone.

The investigating officer noted that while Smiley’s story seemed “peculiar” he gave him the benefit of the doubt and did not arrest him Saturday night.

However, the teen was charged a couple days later after his story did not check out.

According to the report, Smiley confirmed he had been at Wild Bill’s, which is near Gwinnett Place Mall, on Sept. 9. He said he was dressed in the same manner, but didn’t try to arrest anyone.

The teen said he was active duty Air Force, working at the recruiting office on Mansell Road, and was awaiting deployment to Iraq.

Smiley told the officer that he’d been at the club both nights off duty, but "looking for soldiers whom he knew to be absent without leave (AWOL) from the military.”

A security guard told the officer he’d had complaints that Smiley was acting as a federal agent and discovered the suspect had zip ties used to restrain people. Smiley told the guard he was looking for AWOL soldiers.

The suspect did not have zip ties with him Saturday night, but told the officer he did bring some Sept. 9.

“Smiley insisted that he had no intentions of arresting anyone himself, just turning them over to the police if he found anyone that was wanted,” the report said.

It could not be determined if Smiley is actually in the Air Force. Calls to the recruiting office went unanswered.