A teen accused of posing as a law enforcement officer in multiple incidents in San Bernardino County, including one in which he allegedly initiated a traffic stop on an unsuspecting driver, has been arrested, authorities said Wednesday.
In one case, which took place Monday, the 14-year-old boy was allegedly driving an SUV with flashing red and blue emergency lights mounted on the inside of the front windshield when he pulled into a driveway in the 13600 block of Mica Avenue in Victorville, according to a news release from the Victorville Police Department.
The white Ford Explorer had no law enforcement or other type of markers to identify it as a patrol vehicle beyond the emergency lights, nor were there any license plates.
After exiting the parked SUV, the teen went to the front door and made contact with the residents, telling them he was there to investigate a report of a domestic disturbance. Jasmine Jones, who lives at the residence involved, told KTLA she was puzzled by the unprompted visit.
“For me, I was like, ‘That’s not normal. Do cops do that?’” she said.
The juvenile was dressed in a San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department uniform, complete with a belt holster that contained a firearm, authorities said. But despite the props, Jones said it was an unconvincing get-up.
“I saw the police uniform and I thought, ‘That just doesn’t look right,’" she said. "It’s loose, and the belt buckle isn’t staying on his hips.”
However, Jones also insisted the teen appears older than 14 years old in person.
The boy became worried after a larger group of people appeared behind Jones and fled without further incident, she said. According to police, he had tried to open the front door after it was shut on him but found it was locked.
After he left, Jones alerted authorities about the suspicious encounter.
— San Bernardino County Sheriff (@sbcountysheriff) March 7, 2018
The next day, a sergeant spotted a Ford Explorer matching a description of the vehicle involved and conducted a traffic stop on it. After confirming the SUV was a match, the sergeant detained the 14-year-old, who was the great-grandson of the vehicle's register owner.
He was identified as the suspect, and a search of his home led to the discovery of the uniform worn during Monday's incident, authorities said. At the residence, detectives also uncovered large amounts of counterfeit money, and simulation firearms and ballistic vests, among other law enforcement-related items.
Jones said she was curious to know how he had acquired all the merchandise.
“You’re 14 — how do you even have the means, or all that?” she asked.
A further investigation revealed two additional incidents on Monday night when the teen allegedly impersonated a law enforcement officer, including one where police say he pulled over a female motorist in the area of Amethyst Road. The suspect was able to get the driver's information and he let her go with a warning, according to the release.
In another case, the teen activated his emergency lights in the area of Cobalt Road, prompting a 16-year-old boy to come out of his home.
Again, the teen said he was responding to the residence to investigate a domestic disturbance call. He left upon being told there was no disturbance at the location, according to the release.
Authorities have not identified the suspect, who they said was already on probation. He was arrested and booked at the High Desert Juvenile Detention Center.
Detectives are trying to locate any additional victims and anyone with information is asked to call police at 760-241-2911 or Sheriff’s Dispatch at 760-956-5001. Those who would like to leave a tip anonymously can dial 1-800-782-7463.