The public’s help was being sought on Friday in locating a man who allegedly impersonated a police officer, conducted a traffic stop in San Clemente and then stole personal property from the vehicle, authorities said.
The 32-year-old victim was driving on the 5 Freeway Thursday night when he saw police lights flashing behind his vehicle. He exited the freeway and stopped at a Jack-in-the-Box parking lot in the 2900 block of South El Camino Real, where he was ordered out by an “extremely aggressive” man who appeared to be an officer, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
As the victim sat on a curb, the man allegedly stole a wallet, cellphone and keys from inside the car, the department stated in a news release.
“Any time anybody impersonates a police officer, whether it’s during a traffic stop or some other kind of contact with an individual, we take that very seriously,” said Lt. Jeff Hallock with the Sheriff’s Department.
The impersonating officer was described as a Hispanic male, between 25 and 35 years old, with medium length hair and a thin mustache, according to the department.
He was dressed in SWAT-type clothing, which included a black long-sleeved shirt and pants with no visible patches or markings.
The vehicle was either a Ford Crown Victoria or an Infiniti G35 or G37 with police-type lights on the dashboard, the release stated. A second person was believed to have been inside the car, but no description was available.
Anyone with information was asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at 949-361-8224 or 714-647-7000. Tips can also be left anonymously by calling Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-847-6227.