Cop impersonator tries to pull Otter Tail County woman over
A scary situation for one teenager in Otter Tail county earlier this week. The unidentified young woman was driving home from Perham on highway 78 when she got pulled over. But the man who pulled her over wasn't a cop at all. While he had flashing lights on his vehicle he had no authority pulling her over. The Otter Tail county Sheriff's office tells Valley News team's Eric Crest how you can tell if you're dealing with the real deal or an imposter.
Flashing lights on your ride home is the last thing you want to see. You tighten up, make sure you have your belt on and wonder if you were going to fast. But one young lady in Otter Tail county had done nothing wrong.
"She was approached by what she initially thought was a police officer but this individual didn't have a uniform or a badge," says Sheriff Brian Schlueter of the Otter Tail county Sheriff's Office.
The impersonator had the bright flashing lights, that are not very hard to find online. But it was his demeanor and of course lack of a uniform and squad car that sent up red flags.
"The person wasn't very confident. He had no identification. Had a flashlight that didn't seem normal. The whole conversation she had a sense that something wasn't right," says Sheriff Schlueter.
The young lady ended up calling the impersonators bluff.
"She decided to leave so she pulled away," adds Sheriff Schlueter.
So after being pulled over once and not buying into it, she took off. This is where it gets weird. The young lady says she was pulled over again, this time on highway 78 between Perham and Ottertail. That's part of why law enforcement is concerned. Because whoever this cop impersonator was had the audacity to do it twice.
"We take it very seriously because we want people trusting law enforcement and local law. And plus you don't know what their motive is for doing that," says Sheriff Schlueter.
But what the young lady did right both times is what really stands out. The sheriff says she never got out of the car and trusted her gut. That the man wasn't what he claimed to be.
"We're gonna identify ourselves. Most times we'll have a squad car with lights and identification. We could have an unmarked car but that officer will clearly identify themselves with a badge name and id card," says Sheriff Schlueter.
The Otter Tail county Sheriff says if an officer can't prove who they are make the call to 911 right away.
"If it's a legitimate officer, he's gonna say please do that," says Sheriff Schlueter.
The Otter Tail county Sheriffs office is asking for your help finding the impersonator. He's described as a six foot tall, white man in is early to mid 30's. He has short hair on the sides but it may be longer on top. And it's likely that he has an acne scar or marking on the right side of his face. The vehicle he was driving was described as a dark four door car, possibly a newer Pontiac Grand Am with a back windshield having a slant to it. If you have any information that could help please contact the Otter Tail county Sheriff's offic