CHICAGO (CBS) — He had a badge, radio and even handcuffs, but a man who pulled a woman over in Portage, Indiana wasn’t a real cop.
The victim said she showed the police impersonator her ID with her address on it when she was pulled over last week. She’s concerned about him trying to find her and retaliate for her sharing the story, so she asked CBS 2 to hide her identity.
“Now I’m kind of freaked out,” said the woman.
Her plan was to drive home and bring her kids lunch after a day at work in Portage. Then she saw the flashing lights behind her.
“He said he had seen my car at the bar since early this morning, and I said, ‘Yeah, that’s because I work there.'”
She said the supposed cop had handcuffs, a radio and some kind of badge when he asked her if she’d mind taking a breathalyzer.
“And I said absolutely not. I’ve had water all day.”
The Portage Police Department uses one kind of machine for breathalyzer tests. But the woman said the device she saw looked nothing like it.
The man was driving in an unmarked dark blue Crown Victoria.
“He said that I had passed and I could go on my way, and he was going to let me go with a warning,” she said.
She drove home and grew suspicious of the stop, in part because the man had a plain polo instead of a police uniform. She later got in touch with Portage police about the incident.
“Our patrol officers know to be on the lookout for the car,” said Chief Troy Williams.
He added that he has no reports of the DUI stop, and by Indiana law, police have to be in either a marked uniform or marked police car for a standard traffic stop.
“So just the overall description, we don’t believe it to be an off-duty officer or an officer from another jurisdiction. We believe this is a police impostor,” Williams said.
“It freaks me out because why would somebody who is not a police officer pull someone over? What was the reasoning?” the victim wondered.
Williams didn’t really understand it either.
“I’m not sure the motive at this time,” he said.
Illinois State Police also received a report of a woman who came into contact with a police impersonator around 10 p.m. on July 8. That woman was stopped on I-65 heading south near the 109th Street exit.
She described a late model black or dark blue Ford Crown Victoria with red and blue lights inside the windshield and said an older male white driver wearing khaki pants with a tan polo shirt was driving. His clothing had no markings, and he had no gun belt on or any weapons in view. She also said the man did not use a flashlight as he approached and did not identify himself as a police officer or otherwise.
She said he was aggressive and yelled that she had been speeding. He took her driver’s license and registration back to his car for about five minutes before returning them and telling her she would receive a ticket in the mail in a few weeks, and if she didn’t take care of it a warrant would be issued for her arrest.
The woman said when the man approached her the second time his demeanor changed after realizing she was not alone.
A witness also reported the incident.
ISP troopers canvassed the area that evening with no results.
Anyone with information on either stop or the suspect is asked to contact ISP Det. Brian McCall at (219)690-0083.