Police impersonators terrorize family in home invasion

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PHOENIX -- Three men impersonating police officers broke into a home and terrorized a family early Thursday morning.

Three tied up

Police impersonators terrorize Phoenix family in home invasion - Three men impersonating police officers broke into a home and terrorized a family early Thursday morning.

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It happened near 87th Avenue and Thomas Road just after 4 a.m.

The masked men were dressed in all black and were wearing tactical gear. Armed with long guns, the trio tied up three adults with duct tape. A fourth adult, a 57-year-old woman, said she told the men she had been released from the hospital recently and they "took pity" on her and did not tie her up. She called 911 after the suspects left. There also was an 8-year-old child in the house during the incident, but he reportedly slept through the whole thing.

According to investigators, once those three adults were tied up, the men started ransacking the house.

Police said the men apparently were looking for drugs or money. Investigators believe they might have targeted the wrong home.

The victims told officers that the suspects were talking to each other as though they were police officers, with one man even referring to another as "sergeant."

"They [the suspects] didn't have any insignia indicating that they were actually the police, but they told [the victims] that they were police," said Lt. Cheryl Gipson-Thurman of the Phoenix Police Department. "They had walkie-talkies. They were heavily armed with weapons."

Police said the suspects, left the house after about 45 minutes, taking with them weapons, a television, a cell phone and an iPod.

Investigators do not have a description of any of the suspects other than that they were wearing masks and tactical gear.

Nobody was hurt during the incident.