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10/31/2014
By: Laura T.
State Police
Man impersonating deputy pulls woman over, chases herPatrick O’Neill 7:30 p.m. EDT October 30, 2014Presto graphic General Crime.JPG(Photo: Journal & Courier) 119 CONNECT 7 TWEETLINKEDIN 1 COMMENTEMAILMOREZANESVILLE – A young woman who recognized she was being pulled over by a fake sheriff's deputy Tuesday night sped off down Ohio 93 near the Avondale Youth Center, only to be pursued by the faux officer until he turned on a side road and ended his chase, she said."I sped away," said the 21-year-old victim, who the Times Recorder is not naming. "He jumped in the car and chased me. I blew my horn at every car that passed us until he pulled into a side road and turned off all the lights so nobody would see him."Officials say Tuesday's impostor likely was the same man who pulled over a roughly 20-year-old woman last Friday just south of Adamsville. Both traffic stops were initiated shortly after 10 p.m.Muskingum County Sheriff Matt Lutz said he's not sure whether the perpetrator is an aspiring police officer, "someone who's been watching too much TV," or someone with more sinister motives involving younger women. Either way, Lutz said he's "not taking it very lightly." The person responsible faces potential felony charges for impersonating an officer.The victims reported seeing a black, four-door car with red and blue dashboard lights in their rear view mirror. When the females pulled over, a dark-haired man — about 6 feet 1 inch tall and 175 pounds, according to witness accounts — approached their cars wearing black pants and a black shirt with a deputy sheriff's badge.Tuesday's victim reported the phony cop wasn't wearing a gun belt — one of the reasons she grew skeptical of his validity and decided to take off, Lutz said."We want to re-emphasize that we don't want people running from (officers)," Lutz said. "But if they see an unmarked car that has lights in the dash, we want them to not stop if they feel nervous about that. ... Call 911 immediately so that we can get out there to locate the suspect."The woman involved in the Oct. 24 traffic stop was reportedly told she was being pulled over for not using her turn signal. The mock deputy took her license back to his car. When the man returned, another vehicle passed by the car, and he abruptly gave the license back to the woman and left the scene, Lutz said.Lutz said there have been several local law enforcement impersonations in the past 25 years."It's getting pretty bold and pretty scary for our citizens, and we want to make sure we try to find out who's doing this as soon as possible," he said.All officers carry a photo identification card and are clearly marked by badges, patches and name tags. The Muskingum County Sheriff's Office deputy uniform — black shirt, gray pants with a vertical black stripe on the outer leg — is standard for officers on the road.Anyone with information about the law enforcement impostor is asked to call the sheriff's office at 740-452-3637.This is why pacing in an umarked car is dangerous. Learn you hillbillies, buy some radars.

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