Search continues for police impersonator, how to protect yourself

Local police search for a man pretending to be one of their own, problem is…he’s not.

East Lansing Police say, a man is pretending to be a police officer. He’s dressed like one, and drives a car that looks like a police car. And witnesses say, he’s even carrying a gun.

Police got reports of this man after he approached someone walking near the intersection of Saginaw and Hagadorn Road.

Imagine, you’re on your way home, when stopped by a police officer, but you feel something isn’t quite right. That’s what ELPD Lieutenant Steve Gonzales says happened to someone Monday Night.

“It wasn’t a recognizable professional police uniform that you would expect an officer to be wearing, especially within the Mid-Michigan region,” says Gonzalez.

He says, the pretend “officer” was driving a white Ford Taurus, with overhead lights, and the words “Lansing” and “police” on the side when he pulled over to “talk” to the person walking.

Gonzales says, that person had suspicions right off the bat, but when the “fake cop” saw another person recording a video of him.. he took off.

“Once that person got home, they spoke to their family members a little bit further about that contact and elected to come into the police department and report that incident to us,” says Gonzales.

According to him, one of the biggest concerns about this incident is the impostor was armed with a hand-gun.

“He was trying to really make himself look like a true police officer, with different tools on his belt,” says Gonzalez.

So what do you do, if you ever think you are in a similar situation?

“You can always ask the officer for I.D. and their badge number,” says Gonzalez.

He says it’s also okay to call 911 to confirm that information.

“They can ya know, check with an officer and find out if there’s an actual officer on scene where that person might be,” says Gonzalez.

If you’re getting pulled over, you can also pull into a fire or police station if one is nearby. And Gonzalez says it’s important to be familiar with your local agency’s uniform and police cars.

The man police are looking for is in his late 20’s to mid-30’s. He’s about 6ft. tall, with green eyes, short brown hair, and a small birth mark or scar on his cheek.

The “fake cop” was wearing a blue, police-style uniform, that had a dark stripe running down the side of his pants, and a “red and blue” patch with a gold shield on the sleeves.

At this point, there has only been one report of an encounter with this impostor.

Police are hoping the person who recorded the incident will come forward. If you have any information on this case, call ELPD at (517) 351-4220.

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