Atlanta Police are warning the public about a man posing as a police officer in order to sexually assault women during phony traffic stops.
The same suspect is believed to have assaulted women in Cobb County and the city of Atlanta.
“On [March 9], Atlanta Police Investigators were contacted about a sexual assault,” a police spokesperson said. “A 25-year-old female advised that around 1 a.m., she was stopped on Nash Road in Northwest Atlanta by a dark color vehicle with a blue light bar on the roof. She advised the vehicle appeared to be a newer-model full-size four-door sedan and she did not observe any police markings on it. The driver of the vehicle approached her car and sexually assaulted her. She described the driver as a white male, approximately 6’ to 6’3” tall, slim to athletic build, with scruffy brown or black facial hair and a skull cap. The male was wearing a dark color jacket with a star-shaped badge on it. At this time investigators are aggressively investigating this case in an attempt to identify the suspect and take him into custody.”
A few hours later, a similar incident was reported in Cobb County.
“On March 9, 2018 at approximately 4:45 AM the victim was driving on Terrell Mill Road near paper Mill Road when she was pulled over by what she thought was a police vehicle,” the Cobb County Police Department said. “The male suspect approached the victim and during the course of speaking with her asked for her driver’s license. While she was reaching for her license the suspect grabbed the victim by her collar and opened her driver door. He then began to conduct what she thought was a ‘pat down’ for her ID. Instead he began to grope and sexually assault the victim as she sat in her seat. After a brief time he stopped and let her leave the scene.”
The suspect in that case was driving an unknown vehicle with a light bar on top of it. His description was similar to the Atlanta case.
“He was described as a white male, approximately 6 feet tall, with an average build, with short dark brown hair worn in a buzz cut, unshaven, and with a square-shaped head,” the Cobb County Police Department said. “He was described as being approximately 30 years of age. He was wearing a dark jacket with a light blue emblem or some other writing on it, a black vest with a star-shaped gold badge on one side and three service bars (gold) on the other. He was wearing a tan collared uniform shirt with a gold emblem on the left side of the collar and a white t-shirt under the uniform shirt. He was wearing dark pants. He was also wearing a police duty belt with a gun, Taser, and radio.
“This uniform combination does not match any uniform of any law enforcement agency operating in Cobb County, be they County or other municipality.”
APD noted and Cobb County Police noted that people who are pulled over by the police have the right to travel to a well-lit location before stopping for an officer.
The Cobb County Police Department offered the following advice:
· Pull over in a public area.
· Find a well lit area so the officer can see you and you can see the officer. Turn on your hazard lights, slow down, and find the best location available to pull over.
· You do not have to roll your window all the way down in order to speak to an officer or give an officer your driver’s license and proof of insurance (but the license and proof of insurance are required to be handed over if an officer asks for them).
· You can call 911 and make sure you are being pulled over by an actual officer (if you are unsure due to darkness or the car not being easily recognized as a marked patrol vehicle) while driving slowly with your hazard lights on.
· If you suspect the individual is not an actual officer, call 911 immediately and give your location and a description of the suspect and suspect vehicle if visible. Stay on the phone with the 911 operator until an officer arrives to assist you.