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Son busted joy riding in dad’s cop car, wearing dad’s cop uniform, firing a gun

Charges against the son and his female companion include unauthorized use of vehicle, reckless handling of a firearm, impersonating a law enforcement officer, possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana.
Charges against the son and his female companion include unauthorized use of vehicle, reckless handling of a firearm, impersonating a law enforcement officer, possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana.
Virginia State Police

Did you ever want to get behind the wheel and speed around in a real live police cruiser with the emergency lights flashing? Well, James Michael Puebla Berling, 27, of Centreville, Va. did just that – all while wearing a real live police uniform. Unfortunately, the cop car and uniform were his father’s.

The Washington Post reported on April 1 that Berling was arrested after joy riding in his father’s Fairfax County police car, running the lights, wearing his dad’s uniform shirt and firing a gun.

Berling had a female traveling companion in his dad’s car with him while the two desperados were speeding down Route 29 in Centreville back on March 16.

Both Berling and his partner in crime, 18-year-old Caitlin Lee, also of Centreville, are facing a number of criminal charges.

Berling was charged with unauthorized use of vehicle, reckless handling of a firearm and impersonating a law enforcement officer; while Lee was charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, possession of a controlled substance and possession of marijuana.

Virginia State Trooper J.H. Stubblefield saw the police cruiser racing down Route 29 in Centreville with its lights flashing around 1 a.m. on March 16 and followed the cop car until it stopped. After the vehicle stopped, the two occupants got out and ran into the woods.

Stubblefield was able to catch and apprehend Lee, and after a search of the wooded area, found Berling, “wearing his father’s uniform shirt.”

Fairfax County police had received reports of shots fired in the area earlier in the evening, police said. When they investigated, police said, they determined that Berling had fired a weapon inside his home.

The Fairfax County Police said that the gun the younger Berling fired was not his dad’s service revolver.

Berling’s father, Officer James Berling with the Fairfax County Police, was out of town during his son’s transgressions, and won’t be facing any disciplinary action on the job as a result of the younger Berling’s actions.

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