Police impersonator being sought

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BCSO urges caution

By John Barnhart

    The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office is urging motorists to use caution following an incident last Wednesday where a man impersonating a police officer pulled over a woman in the Cifax area of the county.

    At 7:24 a.m. on Sept. 28, Bedford County 911 dispatchers received a call from the woman who advised them she was traveling from the Cifax area to US 221 in Bedford County, when a white, early 2000 model Lincoln with a blue “bubble” light located on the right side of the dash, stopped her on Bethany Circle.
    The woman reported that a tall, dark-haired man, in his 40s, got out. He was wearing a navy blue zippered jacket and a black or dark blue cap with “LYN” on it. The woman stated the man walked up to her vehicle and asked her for her operator’s license.
    The man had either a beard or goatee and was possibly wearing blue nurse’s pants. When the woman asked to see the man’s badge or ID, he got back into his vehicle and sped off towards Bedford on 221.
    According to Major Ricky Gardner of the BCSO, investigators are looking into whether this incident has any similarities to an incident that occurred in the city of Bedford on Aug. 31.
    The Sheriff’s Office put out a description of the vehicle following the incident and was issuing a Reverse 911 call to residents in the areas of Cifax, Forest and Goode, to encourage them to show caution.
    “She did the right thing, when she asked for the ID,” Gardner said of Wednesday’s incident. When he couldn’t produce the ID, she said she was going to call 911 to confirm the stop. That’s when the man left.
    Gardner said if being stopped, residents should show caution and drive to a public place, such as a convenience store, if there is any question about whether the stop is actually a law enforcement officer.
    “Err on the side of caution,” he said, if there’s any doubt.
    He also said calling 911 to confirm the stop with a dispatcher is appropriate.
    “Tell dispatch where you are and confirm that is a deputy sheriff or a police officer that is trying to stop you,” he said. “Use extreme caution.”
    Gardner said that residents pulled over should roll their windows up, lock the doors and have the officer show you his badge or ID.
    “If there’s any doubt at all, call 911,” he said.
    “For the most part we have marked police cars, but we do have investigators who drive unmarked cars,” Gardner said.
    No charges were filed in the Aug. 31 incident in the city, according to the Bedford Police Department.
    According to Lt. Todd Foreman, a woman called police on Aug. 31 and said she had been stopped by a white Ford Taurus station wagon, claiming it had blue lights and a siren. She said the individual stopped her and took pictures of her car.
    That occurred near the intersection of Main Street and Independence Boulevard.
    Lt. Foreman said the woman got that vehicle’s license plate and investigators spoke with the owner of the vehicle. That owner admitted taking pictures of the woman’s car, but police did not find a siren or blue light.
    “His story was different than her’s,” Lt. Foreman said of the driver of the other car. “He thought it was somebody else. … There were other reasons he said it happened.”
    In that incident, the individual in the car didn’t actually get out to talk with the driver being pulled over, he said.
    Anyone with information on the police impersonator crime can call the BCSO at 586-7827 or Central Virginia Crime Stoppers at 1-888-798-5900. Crime Stopper callers remain anonymous and may receive a reward up to $1,000 for information in the case.