DES PLAINES, Ill. (STMW) — A 17-year-old high school student was handcuffed and had money stolen from her car by a man pretending to be a police officer Monday, Pioneer Press is reporting.
Des Plaines Deputy Police Chief Nick Treantafeles said a man driving an unmarked white Ford Crown Victoria with interior flashing red and blue lights pulled the student over near Ballard and Bender roads as she was driving to school around 7:30 a.m. on May 20.
The man ordered the student to get out of her car and when she asked what she had done, he opened the driver’s side door, pulled the student out, handcuffed her and walked her over to the curb while he searched her vehicle, Treantafeles said.
After looking through the glove compartment, center console and trunk, the man approached the student, took the handcuffs off her wrists, walked back to his own car and drove away.
Treantafeles said no conversation occurred and the student reported that $20 was missing from the center console of her vehicle.
The student then drove to Maine East High School in Park Ridge, where she reported the incident to the school resource officer, who contacted Des Plaines police, Treantafeles said.
The police impersonator was wearing a tan or beige shirt with black pants and a handcuff case on his belt, Treantafeles said. He was described as a white man in his 30s, about 6 feet with light brown hair.
Maine Township High School District 207 and East Maine School District 63 issued alerts to students and parents after the incident.
Park Ridge and Niles Police said they had received no similar reports, and Treantafeles said this was the only incident reported in Des Plaines.
If drivers aren’t sure if the person pulling over their car is legitimate, Des Plaines police advise pulling over in a public area, where more people can potentially witness the stop.
“If there’s someone impersonating a police officer, they won’t want the attention,” Treantafeles said.
The area where the student’s vehicle was stopped is surrounded by forest preserve and a Cook County Highway Dept. building.
Motorists can also call the local police department or 911 to verify they are being stopped by an actual officer.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)