Merced County Sheriff’s detectives are investigating possible suspects who may be impersonating law enforcement.
The sheriff’s office said in a news release there have been two recent incidents where drivers of a dark-colored Ford Crown Victoria and SUV turn on red and blue emergency lights and attempt to pull victims over.
On Nov. 4, the department received a report of a suspicious vehicle that turned on what looked like emergency lights in the area of Shaffer Road and Walnut Avenue.
When the driver pulled over, four subjects exited the car, approached the vehicle from all sides and attempted to get into the vehicle.
The driver drove off and contacted the sheriff’s office.
Then, a second report of a possible person impersonating a peace officer came in.
The reporting party described seeing a suspicious black and white SUV in the alleyway near the Dollar General store in Winton, California which may have had the word “police” on it, but was uncertain.
The suspicious SUV turned on blue and red emergency lights on top of the vehicle when the reporting party was at the stop sign at Cottage Way and Walnut Avenue.
The reporting party returned to their residence and contacted the sheriff’s office to report what happened.
Detectives are investigating whether or not the vehicles were official law enforcement vehicles, and have located a vehicle matching the description of the first incident.
The owner of that vehicle was questioned and arrested on charges unrelated to impersonating a peace officer, and are continuing to investigate the vehicle owner’s involvement in these incidents.
No weapons were reported to be involved in either incident.
The sheriff’s office advises that if are stopped by law enforcement, be sure to pull over in a well-lit area whenever possible. Do not get out of your vehicle, lock your doors, and roll your window down enough that you can communicate with the deputy or officer but they are unable to reach into your vehicle.
This is an active investigation and anyone with information regarding these incidents is asked to contact the Merced County Sheriff’s Office at 209-385-7445. Your tip can remain anonymous.