Johnston sheriff: Be on the lookout for phony cop
BENSON, Apr 12, 2012 (The News & Observer - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Johnston County sheriff's deputies are searching for a bogus lawman who has stopped several motorists since late March and robbed them of hundreds of dollars.
The most recent victim was threatened at gunpoint when stopped by a fake officer around 12:30 a.m. Thursday on Ranch Road near the U.S. 70 bypass, according to Capt. Chris Strickland of the Johnston County Sheriff's Office.
A suspect described as a thin, black male pulled over the victim on Ranch Road. He shined a light in the victim's face and demanded to see his license and registration. When the driver reached over to get his registration from the dashboard, the suspect pointed a black handgun at him and asked for the laptop the man had in his car. The fake cop also demanded the cash in the man's wallet, which was about $950, said Strickland.
The suspect got in a dark blue Ford Crown Victoria and drove off.
The vehicle's description matches that of other recent incidents involving a phony officer.
On Monday, a woman driving on Interstate 40 was pulled over by what appeared to be a law officer around 6:45 a.m. She was stopped near a rest area just outside Benson, according to Strickland. Joanne Louise McKoy, 49, of Benson, reported that someone who appeared to be a law officer driving a dark-colored Ford Crown Victoria with flashing blue lights on the dash pulled her over.
The bogus officer told McKoy she was speeding, but she disagreed, Strickland said. The man asked McKoy for her driver's license and registration.
"Then he handed them back to her and drove off," Strickland said.
McKoy told sheriff's deputies that the fake cop is a black male who stands between 5 feet, 5 inches and 5 feet, 6 inches tall. He weighs about 130 pounds, Strickland reported.
On April 5, Chester Willard Tart, 71, of Benson told sheriff's deputies that he was stopped by a man he thought was a law officer who was driving a dark-colored Crown Victoria on Interstate 95, near the I-40 exit in Benson. He said the phony cop accused him of speeding.
"He told (Tart) that if he could pay $200, he would not write him a ticket," Strickland said. "He gave him $200. He didn't get his receipt."
Tart was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Also, on March 29, deputies said a man impersonating a law enforcement officer conducted a traffic stop on I-40 and stole $600 from Neal Terry Thomas, 43, of Creedmoor. The incident occurred near the same rest area on I-40 where McKoy said she was stopped.
Sheriff's deputies are asking residents to turn on their vehicle hazard lights, drive toward a well-lit area and call 911 if they are suspicious of a traffic stop. Anyone with information should call 919-989-5000.
Staff writer Amanda James contributed to this report.
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