August 30, 2013 - 11:24 AM
KAMLOOPS - The RCMP is busy searching for someone in the Kamloops area allegedly trying to do its job.
Two incidents on Wednesday reported to police involved a male allegedly impersonating a police officer, and even conducting traffic stops, near Pritchard.
The first incident occurred around 4:40 a.m. when a driver was pulled over, responding to a dark mid-sized sedan with flashing red-blue strobe lights. Some red flags went off for the driver when he noticed the supposed officer was in plain clothes, had a nose ring and began yelling and swearing at him as he searched for his driver's license.
He had time to quickly call the real cops when the man took his information away back to his vehicle before returning.
"It's a serious offence," said RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk. "Impersonating a police officer is against the law, plain and simple."
While the man was difficult to see because of a flashlight shined into the victims face, the suspect was described as: in his early 20s, unshaven with a nose ring, wearing a tuque, plain clothes and black cotton gloves.
The man's description matched that of a second incident that occurred in the same area, westbound on Highway 1 near Pritchard, around 7:20 a.m. This time, emergency lights were seen above the rearview mirror of a different vehicle, resembling a Dodge Dart. The suspect requested a driver's license and insurance before returning the documents.
Police continue to investigate, trying to determine the motivation behind the incidents.
"Sometimes the motivation can be simply that someone is getting some satisfaction out of portraying a police officer," he said.
However, he added that sometimes it leads to more criminal offences.
"Sometimes it can be the intent of robbing somebody or the intent of causing somebody physical harm."
Whatever the motivation may be, it's an 'odd' situation, said Moskaluk. He is asking for help from the public in identifying the alleged suspect. Due to the small nature of the Pritchard community, he's asking residents to keep their ears open for discussion that could aid the investigation and to keep their eyes open. He also warned residents to proceed with caution when pulled over.
He said the key to the safety of the victims involved in these incidents was compliance. The public can communicate with police from behind a locked door in their vehicle, with a window slightly rolled down for safety.
"As soon as you have an opportunity, call 911," Moskaluk said.
Police advise any person who comes into contact with someone who identifies themselves as a police officer and makes unusual or inappropriate requests to:
- Request to see identification or other proof that they are in fact a police officer;
- Ask the officer to have a marked police vehicle attend;
- Advise the officer that you are going to call 911 to confirm the officer’s identity.
Moskaluk also wants to remind the public that a police officer would never have a reason to request money from a member of the public. The investigation into these two incidents continues.
"It's something that's being taken very seriously," Moskaluk said.
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Cpl. Dan Moskalyk advises residents to ask for a police badge, shown here, to confirm whether someone who pulls you over is a real police officer.
((RCMP) /InfoTel Multimedia)
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013