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Heightened alert after fake cop robs woman

Posted at 5:45 PM, Dec 10, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-10 17:45:22-05

INDIANAPOLIS – A warning from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department: A police impersonator is trying to pull people over and rob them.

A recent victim told investigators she saw red and blue lights, indicating a legitimate traffic stop. When she pulled over, the man used a bright spotlight and flashlight, making it difficult to see. But what came next was anything but ordinary.

“She was definitely shaken up,” the victim’s neighbor Nicole Yarnell told RTV6. “I mean, something like that happens to you – and it’s very scary.”

Yarnell knows the woman who was robbed, and heard the whole story herself.

“He approached the vehicle – the flashlight was so bright that she couldn’t see the officer – and before she knew it, he had punched her in the face and had taken her wallet while she was getting her driver’s license out,” Yarnell said.

IMPD says the man stole $650. The fake cop’s car came equipped with some type of red and blue light combination.

The encounter happened Wednesday night along the 4700 block of Stop 11 Road on the south side.

IMPD Officer Chris Wilburn has a warning for the perpetrator, though.

“This message is specifically for the suspect: There's a matter of time, you will be caught,” Wilburn said. “Statistically speaking, your chances of getting away with these types of incidents are slim.”

Wilburn says if you’re suspicious of someone pulling you over, or the traffic stop seems sketchy, take caution.

“(We) have our identification on us if you’re feeling uncertain. You can call 911 – ask for a uniformed supervisor and get a good description,” Wilburn said. “It should be a clearly marked police vehicle, in a clearly marked, distinct uniform.”

While physically OK, the victim’s friend fears anyone could become a victim.

“If I saw red and blue lights, I would pull over,” Yarnell said. “I mean, we’re told not to continue to drive – I would pull over.”

Police do not have a good description of the man, and say it will take community effort to catch him. If you see anything relating to this case, you’re urged to call IMPD at 317-327-3811, or report information anonymously via Crime Stoppers of Central Indiana by calling 317-262-8477.

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Follow Mike Pelton on Twitter: @MikePeltonrtv6