RCMP are urging motorists to use caution after a pair of incidents involving vehicles pulled over by a suspect allegedly impersonating a police officer.
On Sunday, March 21, police in Midway released information regarding an incident where a man allegedly impersonating an officer conducted a traffic stop with a motorist on Highway 33 between Rock Creek and Kelowna.
Since then, another motorist has reported a similar experience on Highway 6.
On Saturday, March 13, at approximately 9 p.m., a motorist was travelling on the highway between Vernon and Lumby when a white-coloured vehicle, described as an SUV or pickup truck, pulled in behind flashing red and blue lights.
The motorist pulled over to the side of the road and a man approached the driver’s side window with a flashlight.
After a brief conversation, the suspect returned to the white vehicle and turned off the red and blue lights. When the motorist pulled out onto Highway 6, the white vehicle followed.
“As the motorist drove away, the suspicious white vehicle was in the process of stopping another vehicle on Highway 6 near Dure Meadows Road in Lumby,” said Cpl. Tania Finn, media relations officer with the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP.
“Police are interested in speaking with that motorist or anyone else in our area who had a similar experience.”
The male suspect is described as being of average height and weight, with dirty blond hair wearing a white button-down shirt and black or dark blue khaki style pants.
The suspect in the Highway 33 incident was reported driving a white pickup.
The two incidents are not believed to be connected to a similar case in Prince George, where a 29 year old man was arrested and charged with two counts of impersonating an officer after he confronted a group at a bonfire on March 19. He was driving a vehicle with red and blue flashing lights.
If you have any information regarding this incident, please contact Const. Ashley Gravelle at the Lumby RCMP non-emergency line of 250-547-2151. Or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or leaving a tip online at nokscrimestoppers.com. You do not have to reveal your identity to Crime Stoppers. If you provide information that leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a cash reward.
RCMP offer the following tips to motorists who believe they are being stopped by non-legitimate police vehicle:
- Slow down, drive in a safe manner to the nearest well-lit, populated area.
If this is not possible, do the following:
- Lock all doors, pull over safely and leave your vehicle running;
- If you have a cellular phone, take it out immediately, hold it in full view of the person who has pulled you over and call 911;
- Calmly give the 911 operator your location and express your concern;
- Ask the 911 operator/police dispatcher if they have had any communication with a police officer about a traffic stop in your area and ask them to relay your concerns to that law enforcement officer;
- Tell the officer, through a cracked window and locked door, that you plan to cooperate, but you have heard about police impersonators. Indicate that you are concerned for your safety and that you are verifying the police contact through dispatch;
- If you remain uncertain that the person who pulled you over is in fact a police officer, ask him/her if you can proceed to a more populated area. If he/she agrees, tell the 911 dispatcher where you are heading to and proceed.