According to Polk County deputies, a TSA officer who lives in Winter Haven had a history of being late to work and recently tried to lie about a burglary attempt, claiming it was the justification for why she was late for yet another shift. When her supervisor requested a case number, she fabricated a sheriff’s office report, for which she was later arrested for.
Taleta Collier, 34, was arrested Monday by Polk County detectives. Collier was placed on a “improvement plan for excessive tardiness” during the investigation, they stated. On March 20, she called the TSA’s communications office to inform them that she would be running late for her scheduled shift.
Collier informed her supervisor upon her arrival that she was visiting her parents when a man wielding a knife tried to burglarize their car. She stated that she drew her agency-issued gun and directed it at the suspect, who fled.
Collier stated that she made a report with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and her supervisor requested the case number from the report. Collier messaged her supervisor a screen capture of what appeared to be a police report on April 3, detectives said.
“Collier was then instructed to provide an actual copy of the report and not a picture of it, which she never provided,” according to news release from the agency.
“Collier’s supervisor told detectives that the image provided by Collier was cut off halfway through the second page and no incident description was visible.”
TSA contacted the sheriff’s office the next day. Detectives said the screen capture was a “obvious fake” report. The image was created using a non-official sheriff’s form.
They said Collier used a current Polk County deputy’s name and assigned member number. The deputy was on vacation and out of the county at the time the report was made.
The deputy said he didn’t respond or file a report on the alleged burglary attempt.
Collier’s parents told them they “had no knowledge of a burglary report and that their vehicle had not been burglarized,” detectives said.
Collier was charged with forgery and criminal use of a personal identification.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” Sheriff Grady Judd said in a statement. “I don’t understand why anyone would go to the extent of creating a fake police report to avoid a reprimand at work for tardiness. Collier has violated the trust of her coworkers and the people she was supposed to keep safe.”