Warning issued about police impersonator in Pierce County who ordered woman out of her car

TACOMA -- The Pierce County Sheriff's Department said Wednesday that it is investigating an incident where a man impersonated a police officer, stopped a female driver late at night and ordered her to get out of her car.

Luckily, she became suspicious and stayed in her car.

"Citizens are encouraged to take safety precautions if they are stopped by a suspicious person or vehicle," the sheriff's department said in a news release.

The department said that at about 11:30 p.m. last Sunday, a 21-year-old woman saw blue and red lights behind her moments after she left work in the area of 72nd Street East and Waller Road East and she pulled over. The man got out of the car, approached her driver's door and told her to get out of her car. She asked him why she was pulled over, but the man did not answer her question and again told her to get out of her car.

The woman became suspicious that the suspect was not a real police officer because he never asked her for her driver's license, registration or insurance documents, the departments said. The man again told her to get out of the car and then told her to "stop resisting."

The woman asked the man to call another police officer to the scene.

"The suspect became angry and told her two more times to get out of the car, but she refused and again told the suspect to call another officer to the scene. The suspect returned to his vehicle, sat inside for a few moments, then drove away," the department said.

The suspect was wearing a navy blue two-piece uniform that did not have a badge, name tag or any patches on it. He was wearing a duty belt with a holstered handgun, but the woman did not hear or see a radio. The suspect's car was white and said "Police" on the door. It had red and blue lights near the dashboard area, but did not have a light bar or lights mounted on the roof.

None of the neighboring police agencies have any record of making a traffic stop in that area during the general time frame and there is no record of anyone stopping the victim or her vehicle.

If a citizen is stopped by what appears to be a police vehicle, but they are suspicious, they may call 911 and a dispatcher can confirm that it is a real traffic stop being conducted by a real police officer.