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Registered Sex Offender Arrested in September 2009; Impersonated DCF Officer

1:23 AM, Mar 3, 2010   |    comments
Donald James Smith
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A man was arrested in September 2009 for impersonating a Department of Children and Families officer and making an obscene phone call to a young girl.

Police say 53-year-old Donald James Smith, a registered sex offender who served prison time for attempted kidnapping and for committing lewd and lascivious assaults on a minor, was arrested by police Sept. 15 after a lengthy investigation.

SEE MORE OF SMITH'S STORY

On June 30, police say Smith obtained phone numbers for the son of Westside resident Stephanie Boggs.

Police say Smith called the boy, identified himself as an investigator with DCF, and asked for the boy's little sister by name.

When the boy told Smith he would have to call his mother, police say Smith told Stephanie Boggs the same story.

"I asked him why he wanted to speak to my daughter, and he said he couldn't talk to me because there are 'allegations' against my daughter," Boggs said.

Boggs said the impersonation was very convincing. She says she told Smith her daughter was at a grandmother's house in Nassau County and gave him the phone number.

Police say when Smith called the grandmother, she only agreed to put her granddaughter on the phone after Smith said it would be a three-way conversation with Boggs included.

Boggs says she was never included in the conversation, and her daughter ended up on the phone alone with Smith for 20 minutes.

"He asked her where she was. He asked her where she lived. He asked her if she was wearing a bra," Boggs said.

Police say the conversation became explicit, and Bogeys daughter ended up in tears.

"He told her if she told anyone what was said, he would arrest her mom and her dad and put them in jail. She was hysterical," Boggs said.

Police say the girl did not tell her grandmother what was said, but handed her the phone. That's when investigators say Smith threatened the grandmother that if she did not drive the girl to a 'neutral' location to meet with him, someone would go to jail.

The meeting never happened.

After Boggs learned what the man on the phone said to her daughter, she found his number on caller ID and called it from a neighbor's house.

Police say the man told Boggs his name was Donald Smith, but he denied making the phone call.

Boggs had her daughter and her mother-in-law listen in on the phone conversation to confirm it was the same person they'd spoken with.

At the same time, Boggs pulled up Smith's sex offender registration online.

Boggs' history of sex crime convictions dates back to 1977.

"I was hysterical. Afraid for my daughter, not knowing if he knew where I lived. If he was going to take her," Boggs said.

A quick call to DCF confirmed there were no investigators looking for her family.

Boggs reported the incident to the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Police say Smith admitted to being a crack addict and told investigators of his previous arrests for sexually related crimes, but said he did not make the call to Boggs' daughter.

According to police reports, Smith says he rented his phone to an unknown person on June 30. However, police say cell tower records show Smith was in possession of the phone at the time the calls were made.

With no idea how Smith obtained her son's number and her daughter's name, Boggs is concerned.

"You see this on the news all the time and you think, it will never happen to you. But it can happen to anyone," Boggs said.

Smith is self-employed as a handyman. He's in jail tonight on more than $250,000 bond.

A Department of Children and Families spokesperson says only a couple times in the past 30 years have there been reports of someone impersonating an investigator, and never to this extent.

A DCF spokesperson says:

-DCF investigators never conduct interviews over the phone

-Investigators always show identification when making house calls, and leave parents with a bill of rights

-Anyone with doubts about an investigator's credibility is encouraged to call 911

First Coast News

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