Fake Fire Marshal Gets Break in Texas Courtroom

July 23--FORT WORTH A man who posed as a fire marshal in 2012 to get into a Grapevine bar to avoid paying a $10 cover charge and get free drinks was sentenced on Wednesday to two years' probation.

Charles Brandon, 44, who lives in the Denton County community of Savannah, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a charge of false identification as a peace officer. He had been charged with impersonating a public servant at the Glass Cactus, a nightclub at the Gaylord Texan.

Brandon entered his plea in Criminal District Court No. 371 and was sentenced to probation with deferred adjudication.

Brandon claimed to be a fire marshal with Dallas County Fire and Rescue, and flashed a badge to employees at the Glass Cactus and to a Grapevine fire official, Grapevine police said.

Brandon was first spotted at the Glass Cactus on New Year's Eve in 2012.

"Grapevine's fire marshal was there that night when someone said that there was another Grapevine fire marshal already there," Grapevine police officer Sam Shemwell said in a January 2013 interview with the Star-Telegram. "The city's fire marshal found him, contacted him and asked him about it. He said at the time that they just misunderstood him and that he never said he was from Grapevine. He said he was from Dallas County and showed a badge. The real fire marshal was so busy that once he saw the badge, he just went on with his work that night."

A few weeks later, when the Grapevine fire marshal was there again, Glass Cactus employees told the fire official that the "other" fire marshal was also at the bar.

"The suspect was again contacted and showed the badge," Shemwell said in the interview.

Soon afterward, the Grapevine fire marshal called Grapevine police.

Brandon was then escorted out of the bar and confessed that he wasn't a fire marshal. Employees told authorities that Brandon had been to the club several times

As a condition of his probation, Brandon is not permitted at the Glass Cactus or Gaylord Texan property.

Domingo Ramirez Jr., 817-390-7763 Twitter: @mingoramirezjr

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