6/20/2008Florida: Cop Impersonator Uses Unmarked Car
Motorists in St. Augustine, Florida mistakenly pull over for a false cop in an unmarked car.
The St. Johns County, Florida Sheriff's Office arrested a man yesterday charged with posing as a police officer in an unmarked car. Police say that Ryan Mcleod Satz, 21, used a flashing blue and red light on the dashboard of a white Chevy Tahoe to fool motorists into pulling over for him on Interstate 95 and State Road 207 near St. Augustine.
WTLV-TV reported that a woman who recognized Satz watched him pull over a driver. The woman reported the incident to police who caught Satz later that evening. Satz was allegedly wearing clothes and equipment resembling those used by the sheriff's department, including a .40 caliber handgun. Satz himself was a former St. Johns Sheriff's Office Police Explorer.
"The mission of the Explorer Program is to bridge the gap between youth and law enforcement by educating boys and girls who may be interested in a career in law enforcement," the department's website explains. "Although some explorers may not pursue a career in law enforcement, the skills they learn during their affiliation with the program will aid them throughout their lives."
Satz now faces felony charges of impersonating an officer, carrying a concealed weapon and using a weapon in the commission of a crime. The charges carry a maximum sentence of fifteen years imprisonment.
Earlier this month, a woman in Missouri was handcuffed by real police because she waited to pull over in a brightly lit area when she was unsure whether the unmarked car behind her was being driven by an actual police officer or not (view video). Several other states have similar problems with robbers and rapists taking advantage of police use of unmarked cars for traffic enforcement.