Warning issued after police impersonator pulls woman’s vehicle over in West Chester

The woman reported she was assaulted, a police report shows.

Police searching for man accused of impersonating officer

WEST CHESTER TWP., Ohio (FOX19) - West Chester police said Wednesday they are investigating a report that a man pulled a woman’s vehicle over by impersonating as a police officer.

The police reports shows the victim reported to police she was assaulted by a unknown person impersonating a police officer during the incident on Union Centre Boulevard near Princeton-Glendale Road (Ohio 747) about 6:10 a.m. Wednesday.

An SUV of unknown color stopped her vehicle, using blue and red flashing lights, Sgt. Paul Lovell said at a news conference. West Chester police use blue lights, he noted.

The suspect approached the victim’s car, acting as if he was a police officer. He wore all black clothing, a short-sleeved shirt with no badge or identifying patches and a blue mask, according to police.

The man is described as about 30 years old, 5-feet-8 inches tall, weighing around 150 to 180 pounds, with brown hair in a buzz cut.

There is no 911 recording associated with this case, according to a township spokeswoman, Barb Wilson.

Lovell said the woman phoned West Chester police’s non-emergency phone line after the stop.

Details about the alleged assault were not released.

“We are not able to release further details at this time,” Wilson said.

Police said the same thing when we checked with them.

Lovell left open the possibility the suspect was a legitimate police officer who just didn’t have a “legitimate task,” in which case “we need to know what they were doing out there and what was going on.”

But then he said he doesn’t believe the scenario to be likely and West Chester police are investigating the incident as an impersonation.

Lovell said he could provide no further details on the victim or the suspect.

“Any time you have an individual that takes it upon themselves to put lights on a car and go around stopping people, that is concerning,” Lovell said. “And that is why we want to educate the public that a majority of the time, it is going to be an actual police officer behind you.”

Police say you can call 911 during a traffic stop if you want to verify that the person who pulled you over is a law enforcement officer.

When you call 911, a communications officer will then have a record of the traffic stop.

If you are pulled over in a dark, desolate location and do not feel safe, police say to turn on your hazard lights, slow down, and let the 911 operator know you will be stopping at a well-lit, public location.

“Everybody has that sense [when] something isn’t right,” Lovell said, “and we encourage you to act on that when something doesn’t seem right and doesn’t fit the narrative or the norm of what happens on a stop.

“Contact us. Let us know. We want to know you are safe and secure in every encounter we have with the public, so, we don’t get discouraged, we don’t take offense when you want to double-check what we’re doing.”

Anyone who may have information about this incident is asked to contact the West Chester police tip line at 513-759-7272.

Tips may also be submitted online through the department’s anonymous tipline by clicking here.

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