Flashing Lights but No Badge, Authorities Warn of Possible Officer Impersonator
Reports are surfacing of a phony police officer pulling over teens near Sidney, Neb.
One victim's mother, Lisa Merrick said her daughter was driving in the country when she saw red and blue lights flashing behind her. She pulled over and the man who came to her window appeared to be in his late 30's, medium length dark brown hair and was wearing blue jeans and a hoodie.
She says when he came up to the window he asked for her age, name and where she went to school. When she was asked why she was pulled over he said "just a second," returned to his car and drove off.
"I got on Facebook, I urged everyone if this has happened to your son or daughter or yourself please report it to the police cause they need all the help they can get in stopping this guy," said Merrick.
Holdrege Police Chief Dennis DaMoude said if someone with no decals and very few lights pulls you over, this could be an indication it's not an actual police cruiser.
"She said 'well mom he didn't seem threatening. He sounded like a good person.' I said 'honey, psycho paths are good at seeming like they are good people. The only reason that they would impersonate being a police officer is if they want to cover up a bigger and worse crime,' and as a parent I was absolutely horrified. I still am, and I can't stop thinking about it," said Merrick.
Authorities say if you're worried the person who pulled you over isn't who they said they are, don't open the window all the way, ask for their name, badge number and why they are stopping you.
"We are trained to stop people where it is well lit so we can see things and that there are witnesses for us too," said DaMoude.
When you see red and blue flashing lights behind you immediately slow down and pull over to a well lit area. "But you could call 911 if you don't want to stop. Travel slowly and go to the nearest police department or someplace where it is well lit with plenty of witnesses there," said DaMoude.
In unmarked vehicles the lights may be in the dash, the visor, and the back or white flashing lights in the headlights and grill.
"Maybe he hasn't hurt or kidnapped anyone yet, but he might be practicing and perfecting his skills," said Merrick of the incident near Sidney.
"If in fact the individual makes some sort of move towards the driver, so you can drive off if they try and get in the car or lock the doors before anyone comes up," explained DaMoude.
Merrick wants to caution kids and parents to be aware of their surroundings at all times. "Just because you live in a small town and you live in Nebraska doesn't mean that there aren't dangerous people out there. It only takes once for one of our kids to be missing or worse," said Merrick.
In the state of Nebraska impersonating an officer is a class one misdemeanor, with a possible fine of $1,000 or up to a year in jail.
Sidney police are still investigating this incident and are asking anyone with information to call local authorities.