Fake cop pulls over teen

July 31, 2008 5:40:52 PM PDT
There's a warning about a man who has posed as a police officer and stopped a teenage driver. Investigators say the man may be looking for other victims. The teen was pulled over by the police impersonator on Highway 35 near Alvin. Even though this teenager wasn't hurt, police believe this man may still be out there.

It may have looked like any other traffic stop, but according to Brazoria County Sheriff's investigators what happened along Highway 35 was anything but routine.

Lt. Russ Baker said, "What was his intent, I don't know. I can say his intent was not good."

Authorities say a 16-year-old boy was driving to Alvin when he was pulled over by a white Ford Crown Victoria. It had what appeared to be flashing police lights in the dash. When the driver got out, he had a brown police uniform on, complete with badge and authentic looking police patches. The man told the teen his car was stolen and needed to search it.

"The young man gave consent, the search was conducted at which time the suspect turned, got into his vehicle and sped away," Lt. Baker explained.

Startled, the teen contacted authorities. While we don't know what the man's motives were, we've learned police uniforms aren't hard to find. We went online and found numerous sites selling them. An employee at one company told us we didn't need police identification as long as the uniform had no official markings.

In this case, authorities worry what the man was trying to do.

Lt. Baker wondered, "Are they preparing to commit a crime? We don't know that."

If you're stopped by someone you suspect is not legitimate, our legal analyst says you do have certain rights.

Joel Androphy explained, "If you reasonably believe it's not a cop, or you reasonably believe for your safety, you have a right to drive to the police station, drive to a gas station."

Androphy advises calling 911 to convey your concerns before you pull over. In light of this case, razoria County officials also say they don't mind if you exercise some caution.

"Our first priority, our first concern is public safety," Lt. Baker said.

Authorities say they do have reports of this man being spotted in other parts of the county. The suspect is described as a white male, about 6 feet tall, weighing approximately 250 pounds. He is bald, wearing a brown shirt with gold piping and tan pants with piping and a gold overlay. He has been driving an unmarked white Crown Victoria with flashing lights in the grill and the back deck. If you see the suspect or that vehicle, you're advised to call 911.

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