Teens accused of impersonating cops

June 13, 2009 4:05:57 AM PDT
They looked like the real deal with badges, guns and handcuffs, but investigators said they've caught two teenagers who were posing as police to rip people off. Those suspected crooks are locked up. Both suspects are just teenagers, 16 and 17-years-old. They were arrested Thursday and were each charged with two counts of aggravated robbery.

The scary part is that neither of them are old enough to vote.

Police said the crimes all happened late at night.

"It was dark. They're looking for a time when there are no witnesses," said Kese Smith of the Houston Police Department.

The suspects, two teenage cousins, would typically target drivers who were all alone, in each case, flashing their headlights to initiate the fake and potentially dangerous stop.

"Once the motorist had pulled over, they would bring their pickup truck around to the front of the motorists' vehicle, blocking them so they couldn't escape," said Smith.

Police said the suspects both wore legitimate looking outfits including police boots, BB guns disguised as real guns, and badges. The suspects would even use handcuffs to bind the victims' hands while they committed the crimes.

"One of the cousins would guard the motorist while the other cousin would go back to the pickup truck to pretend to run them through the system. Instead of doing that, because these weren't officers, they would rifle through the wallets and take cash and sometimes credit cards," said Smith.

The suspects are linked to at least nine robberies since May 27. All of them occurred in the southwest part of town near Fuqua. Upon arrest, police said both suspects confessed to committing the crimes. However, police believe more victims are out there.

"We know of nine cases, but we're trying to see if there might be some more," said Smith.

Investigators said the suspects drove around in a black or white Ford F-150. It's important to note that Houston police do not make traffic stops in unmarked cars.

Police told us there are few things you can do if you think you are being stopped by someone posing as an officer. They said to first call 9-1-1, and stay on the phone with the operator through the entire stop. Also, make sure you pull over in a well-lit area, and it's OK to drive a little way.

If you feel that you have been victimized, you are urged to call HPD's Major Offenders Unit at 713-308-3100.

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