Phony Cops

11:59 AM, Jul 12, 2010   |    comments
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  • Suspect sketch from Prince William County Police.

MANASSAS, Va. (WUSA)--"Impersonating a police officer, in my opinion, that's the worst case scenario," says Detective Joseph Medawar with the Prince William County Police Department.  "It's a violation of the trust."

Someone broke that trust on Saturday, April 3 at 8:30 a.m. in Manassas.  Detective Medawar says a man dressed all in blue, wearing a police belt,  handcuffs, a pistol and a Taser, flashed a police badge to a clerk opening up a cash checking-bondsman business in the 10500 block of Lomond Drive.  The man claimed to be a police officer to the clerk.  When the clerk refused to show the man some documents he requested, the phony cop then tried to taser the store clerk.  In the end, the bad guy made away with $20,000 from the store.  He fled the scene in a gray van.

"It's so easy to access these items," says Detective Medawar referring to police gear.  "You can get a whole police uniform on line if you want to."

And that's exactly what 9NEWS NOW did.  With a simple click of the mouse, we were able to order police shirts, pants, badges, strobe lights and handcuffs from a variety of online sites.  No questions asked.  Two days later, our orders arrived.

"Just possession of it is not illegal," says Medawar.  "However, if you display it to the public, or you portray yourself as a police officer, or law enforcement, then it becomes illegal."

Medawar, along with others in law enforcement, tell 9NEWS NOW they would like to see the open market selling of these items limited.

"The websites that sell them, if they have some requirement that they have to verify that the person ordering these items is a police officer, and if they can only ship it to a police station address and let the officer who ordered it pick it up from the police station, I think that would cut down a little bit on it," says Medawar.

Meanwhile, Medawar is still looking for that police impersonator from the Manassas check cashing case.  Tasers emit small little pieces of paper when they are fired.  Police are working with the Taser Corporation to track down the serial number on the cartridge that was fired.

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