Cleveland police make arrest in officer impersonation robberies

Published: Apr. 4, 2023 at 9:42 AM EDT|Updated: Apr. 4, 2023 at 11:56 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - One man is in custody for allegedly impersonating a Cleveland police officer and stopping drivers before robbing them.

Police said there have been five attacks since March 7 involving multiple vehicles, mainly SUVs.

According to Cleveland Police Sergeant Jennifer Ciaccia, around 10 a.m. Tuesday, a police officer spotted one of the vehicles used by the suspects and followed the vehicle from the city’s West side to Slavic Village.

In the area of E. 71st Street and Worley Avenue, Sgt. Ciaccia said the suspect bailed from his Dodge Durango and ran into a stranger’s home.

He then locked the door.

U.S. Marshals responded to the scene and took him into custody without incident, shortly afterwards. His name is not being released at this time.

The male was arrested initially for an outstanding felony drug warrant and tampering with evidence. Other charges are still being investigated. This matter remains under investigation, according to Cleveland Police.

Residents were home at the time, but they were not injured.

Sgt. Ciaccia added they are still looking for at least three suspects and two other vehicles involved.

Earlier Tuesday, Cleveland police released new photos of the vehicles involved; including, the Dodge Durango as well as a black Jeep Cherokee.

Cleveland police search for suspect vehicles in officer impersonation robberies
Cleveland police search for suspect vehicles in officer impersonation robberies(Source: Cleveland police)

Investigators provided the information below detailing each robbery:

  • On March 7, 2023 at 2:40 a.m., a male was traveling on Route 2 at West 45th Street exit when a vehicle displaying police emergency type lights pulled him over, the suspects robbed him at gunpoint of his vehicle. The suspect vehicle in that incident was possibly a dark colored Honda Accord.
  • On March 28, 2023 at approximately 9:30 a.m., in the area of 152nd Street and Lakeshore Avenue, a male was approached and pulled over by suspects in a dark colored Jeep Grand Cherokee displaying police emergency type lights, and was then robbed at gunpoint.
  • On March 31, 2023 at approximately 9:55 p.m., in the 3200 block of West 65th street, suspects driving a Volkswagon SUV displaying police emergency type lights pulled over·
  • On April 1, 2023 at approximately 3:00 a.m., in the 3000 block of West 48th Street, suspects driving a Kia Sportage displaying police emergency type lights pulled over and robbed victims of property and a vehicle at gunpoint. and robbed victims of property at gunpoint.
  • On April 2, 2023 at approximately 6:20 p.m., in the area of Broadway Avenue and Blanche Avenue, a victim reported he was driving and was followed by a vehicle which utilized police type lights to attempt to pull him over. The victim further stated that the suspect brandished a firearm and was wearing a ballistic vest. The victim called 9-1-1 and remained on the line with dispatch as he drove to the Third District police station. While driving to the police station, the suspect vehicle went another direction. The suspect vehicle is described as a brand new Black Dodge Durango with heavily tinted windows and black vehicle accessories and temporary tags. A Black Jeep Cherokee also appeared to be involved.

According to police, these incidents have involved only private, unmarked vehicles; there are no reports of stolen Cleveland police cars or the use of a marked police car.