Possible police impersonator on the loose

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(Source: sergeyit via 123RF) (Source: sergeyit via 123RF)

Phoenix police are investigating a report of a person impersonating an officer.

According to Sgt. Mercedes Fortune, the fake cop pulled over a man in the area of 27th Avenue and Bethany Home Road, which is just west of Interstate 17, at about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday.

“The victim alleged that he was stopped by a suspect wearing clothing and equipment similar to a police officer,” Fortune wrote in an email response to our inquiry. “The suspect was driving a Ford, [sic] Crown Victoria that was also equipped with emergency lights.”

The victim said the suspect took his property and then left a short time later. The victim then drove home and called the real police.

“The uniform did not have any identifiable patches,” according to Fortune. No description of the suspect was immediately available.

It’s not clear if this suspect has made other “traffic stops.”

Earlier this month, a suspected police impersonator handcuffed a woman during a fake traffic stop.

Last month, a Waddell man was arrested for impersonating a Maricopa County sheriff's deputy. In February, David Heppler, 40, allegedly confronted two teens accused of having a stolen cell phone and claimed that he was an undercover officer.

There are things you can do if you're concerned that the person pulling you over is not a legitimate officer.

First, make sure you're in a well-lit area before you stop. Second, be observant and don't be afraid to ask for identification.

“Citizens should look for name tags, duty belts with radios, police patches, decals on the vehicles and every officer carries a photo work identification,” Fortune said. “Also we all carry business cards. If anyone is suspicious have them also request their supervisor and their employee serial number.”

If you're concerned for your safety, call 911, tell the dispatcher you believe you've been stopped by somebody impersonating a cop and give him of her your exact location. Dispatchers can easily find out if a traffic stop is the real deal.

Under Arizona law, impersonating a police officer or deputy is a class 6 felony. Impersonating an officer while committing a felony, including robbery, is a class 4 felony (ARS § 13-2411).


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