Police impersonator crimes on rise in Detroit

Local 4 Defenders offer advice to potential victims of police impersonators

DETROIT - Local 4 Defenders have learned that in Detroit in the last two weeks, nearly ten crimes have been reported involving men posing as police officers.

The latest incident, Thursday morning, resulted in the shooting death of a 35-year-old woman and critical wounding of her 12-year-old sister. Those attackers remain at large.

Read more: Detroit shooting leaves 12-year-old wounded, sister dead

Retired Detroit police detective Tom Berry said in some cases, the police impersonators stop cars on the street.

"And the people, being good people, pull over and these clowns run up and put guns in your face and take your phone, and take your money and take your jewelry, and that's what was happening there," Berry said.

Tom Berry offered advice for drivers who see flashing lights in their rear view mirror, but feel something is not right.

"There's a car behind me. I don't know if it's the police or not. they have a light but it doesn't look like a police light. It might be. I'm afraid to stop. You don't have to stop, but then again, you're not going to speed away. If you just keep going like this and keep going, they are going to call for backup. They are going to call for a uniformed car," Berry said.

If someone claiming to be a police officer shows up at your door, Berry said they should be able to identify themselves.

"Policemen have identification. Not only do they have badges. They have identification, and you can always call 911 if you think something's wrong, call 911 to make sure," Berry said.

Tom Berry advises that if a driver is followed by a car with suspicious flashing lights, the drivers should head to the nearest police station.  A real police officer will follow them there.  Police impersonators are likely to drive away.

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