53-year-old Paul Aniel was charged with driving while license revoked, pedestrian solicitation and evading arrest when he dangerously peeled away from officers on the Opry Mills exit ramp this week after unknowingly flagging down an officer in an unmarked car for his well-known scam.
On March 9th around 2:15 in the afternoon, Paul Aniel unknowingly approached the unmarked police car of Officer James Laster Junior. According to affidavits, Paul was panhandling on the Briley Parkway North exit ramp to Opry Mills Mall when he flagged the officer down, motioning as if he needed a phone. Once he recognized the officer’s uniform and lights, Paul told the officer he had already gotten assistance from people who had just driven away.
The officer recognized Paul, as a well-known scammer who has gained notoriety in media and law enforcement with over one hundred charges just in Davidson County. Aniel even has multiple Facebook groups dedicated to tracking his whereabouts. When asked for identification, Paul said he did not have it with him and began to run toward his 2011 Ford Fusion with plate number 0R96K5. Officer Laster exited his police car in pursuit yelling “stop” and “don’t do this” as Paul jumped into his car and attempted to close the door. Two officers were still standing inside his open car door and one had a grip Paul’s arm as he accelerated off erratically fleeing the scene.
Paul Aniel was arrested and charged with pedestrian soliciting rides or business, evading arrest, motor vehicle, risk of injury and driving on a revoked license, 2nd offense. He is currently jailed in lieu of $18,500 bond.