Arkansas authorities warn of man impersonating officer

| 9/30/2002

Heads up, truckers. The Miller County (AR) Sheriff's Office has issued a warning for motorists to be on the look out for a man falsely identifying himself as a police officer.

Drivers traveling both I-30 and U.S. Highway 67 between Texarkana and Fulton are advised to take extreme caution, especially between mile markers seven and 12.

On Sept. 9, the Arkansas Highway Police received information on a man reportedly posing as an Arkansas Department of Transportation Officer pulling drivers over. The traffic stops typically occurred within a five-mile stretch on the interstate and the highway, which run parallel.

The suspect is described as a white male about 5 feet 10 to 6 feet tall. He is believed to be in his late 20s to early 30s, clean-shaven with short blond hair and wearing either dark blue or black SWAT-type clothing, said Capt. Toby Giles, Miller County chief deputy.

Giles said, however, the suspect has no identifying law enforcement patches, badges or personal identification on him. The man is also reported to be driving an unmarked dark blue Chevrolet Caprice that displays a blue emergency flashing light on the dashboard.

On Sept. 9, the suspect pulled over a truckdriver on U.S. 67, seemingly to weigh the driver's vehicle. The trucker was asked to pay a $300 fine in cash. Since the driver wasn't carrying that much cash on him, the suspect accompanied him to a nearby truckstop, where the trucker called his dispatcher before cashing a check, Giles said.

The trucker's dispatcher advised him to get a receipt from the man as well as record the vehicle license plate number. The suspect soon after fled the scene in his car as the trucker attempted to copy down the man's license plate.

The trucker reported the alleged officer to be wearing a dark blue uniform with baggy pants, badge, gun and a baseball cap with the letters DOT on it. The trucker also described the suspect's vehicle as having the letters DOT on the bottom portion of the driver's side door and two antennas on the rear.

Giles said a similar incident occurred in the days following the first encounter. In this instance, a trucker was pulled over, this time on I-30, but the suspect fled after the trucker became suspicious.

Another incident occurred Sept. 17 at 2:45 a.m. on I-30 when the suspect, this time described as wearing a cap with no markings, pulled over two Texas women. He issued no citation, but told them he stopped them because they changed lanes too soon after coming out of a construction zone. He then left the two women parked on the I-30 shoulder while he got back into his dark blue car and left the scene.

Giles advises anyone who gets pulled over by a vehicle matching these descriptions to drive to the nearest public place or well-lighted area, then ask politely for the person's identification.

Anyone who may have been pulled over or has any information about the case should call the sheriff's office at (870) 774-2703, or call Capt. Gary East of the District 4 Arkansas Highway Police in Hope at (870) 777-5947.
--Keith Goble, staff writer