November 26, 2014

California police looking for men posing as officers

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There is a warning from police in California, as they are looking for two men impersonating law enforcement.

Investigators say they are very concerned about finding and stopping the fake officers. They say a Fresno man was approached in his car, while at an intersection, by a man shining a flashlight in his eyes early Sunday morning.

Authorities say two fake officers ended up allegedly robbing the man.

"He believed they were cops," said Lt. Joe Gomez, spokesman for Fresno police. "He never thought twice of it."

Police say the victim left a bar in Central Fresno around 1 a.m. and later admitted he was drinking and driving when the two suspects approached him about three miles away.

"As he's making a turn there at that intersection he sees a car pull up next to him," Lt. Gomez said. "He describes it as a gray sedan, similar to a police car."

While stopped there, police say the suspects reportedly sounded very much like officers. They told the victim they smelled alcohol on his breath and wanted to see his wallet. Police say the victim never saw weapons or badges, but the suspects had on what looked like green law enforcement vests.

"So he believed they were working undercover for the sheriff's department, and their car matched that, too," Gomez said. "So he thought nothing of this. He thought he got a break on the DUI."

The sheriff's department had no one working there that night, FPD said. Investigators added there were no Fresno police officers in the area either.

The victim left his car locked up at the scene, convinced the so-called officers let him off the DUI charge with a warning.

The next morning, he told authorities he noticed $300 missing from his wallet.

Being careful of suspicious stops, police say, is OK.

"If you believe it's suspicious, drive to a well-lit area, convenience store is good, if you're close to a police department or sub-station that'd be excellent, but where people are," Lt. Gomez said.

Police say the victim is brave for stepping forward. The only decent description they have of these suspects is one man was Hispanic with a medium build, in his 20s with heavy acne.


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The acronyms DUI, DWI, OMVI and OVI all refer to the same thing: operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The most commonly used terms are DUI, an acronym for Driving Under the Influence, and DWI, an acronym for Driving While Impaired.
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