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Detectives on the lookout for fake cop



Published: Thu, October 10, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

By joe gorman

jgorman@vindy.com

youngstown

Detectives have been searching since Sunday for a man impersonating a police officer who pulled a woman over on Interstate 680 and fondled her.

Capt. Mark Milstead, head of the Detective Bureau, said investigators have a double concern not only because someone impersonating a police officer erodes the public’s trust in law enforcement but also because of the brazenness of the man’s actions.

“He’s potentially a very dangerous individual,” Milstead said.

A 20-year-old old woman told police she was on Interstate 680 about 6:15 a.m. Sunday traveling south to pick her mother up from work when a vehicle that looked like a police car and had a bubble-top siren on the dashboard pulled her over. The woman said in police reports the man in the car had on a light-blue uniform shirt and a gun belt that had a large knife in it.

Reports said the man told the woman he had to search her, but she was very uncomfortable in the way he did so, and she got back in her car, locked the doors and drove away before calling police.

Milstead said investigators checked police-surplus stores to see who may have purchased surplus police cruisers and have been questioning people who fit the description of the fake police officer. He said that so far, they have come up empty. A car also was found, but the victim said the car police showed her did not match the one that pulled her over, and so far, the victim has not been able to pick out any potential suspects in photo lineups shown to her by detectives.

Milstead said it is a concern that someone would try to fondle a woman on a public interstate out in the open, which is one of the reasons detectives want to find the suspect. He also said having a person impersonate a police officer can adversely affect how the general public views law- enforcement officers.


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