Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Dept. Warns of Suspects Impersonating Officers

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STANISLAUS COUNTY --

Law enforcement officials need the public's help to find cop-impersonators who are stealing from rural Turlock residents.

"He yielded, as he was supposed to do, and heard two males yelling at him to get out of the car, so he complied," Sgt. Anthony Bejaran of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department said.

The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department said a Turlock man in his 50s did everything right. The only problem was the "officers" who pulled him over on South Moffett Road were fake.

Tuesday at about 5:20 p.m., two men riding in an older model Ford Crown Victoria stopped the victim, who was driving his white pickup truck. They flashed their red and blue lights. Within seconds, what the victim thought was a routine traffic stop turned into a life or death situation.

With his hands in the air and a pistol to his head, the victim was then asked to cough up any money or drugs he had. When he said he didn't have any, the suspects took his car and drove away.

Although the victim only suffered a small scratch to his face, he said he was traumatized.

Close to a mile away, investigators recovered the man's truck. Next to it, they found another stolen car -- this one from Turlock.

Authorities said the suspects may have hit multiple victims.

"Minutes before dispatch for a report of a stolen car, we did have a rancher who came across a couple of guys who yelled at him, told them to get back in the house and that they were police officers," Sgt. Bejaran said.

It is unclear if the two men were wearing uniforms. But from what investigators can tell, the men have modified their car with aftermarket accessories to resemble a police cruiser.

They want the public to know almost all traffics stops in the area are made by marked vehicles. If you are pulled over by an unmarked car, there are certain things you can do to protect yourself.

"If a citizen in the community feels they are being stopped by someone who is not a law enforcement officer, continue driving to a well lit area, so you can see," Sgt. Bejaran said. "Also, if you believe and have the grave concern that it is not a police officer or deputy sheriff, call 911."

If you have any information on the suspects, you are urged to call the Stanislaus County Crime Stoppers at 1-866-60-CRIME(27463) or (209) 521-4636