ALBERT LEA – Law enforcement in Southern Minnesota is warning citizens of a man in a vehicle with flashing lights posing as an Iowa deputy.
Freeborn county sheriff Kurt Freitag said this morning that his agency responded to assist both the Steele County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota State Patrol. The incidents involved a possible police impersonator. Two separate incidents were reported during late Saturday and early Sunday, March 8, 2020. The first incident was just off I-35 near Ellendale. The victim was parked in a parking lot and a vehicle described as an older dirty Dodge Durango with loud exhaust pulled up to him. He described the male as being around 30 years old with a medium build (220- 230 Ibs) and dark hair. The victim did not feel comfortable and called 911. The subject identified himself as an Iowa Deputy. The suspect left the scene before Law Enforcement arrived. The second incident occurred 90 minutes later on 135 two miles south of Ellendale and was reported by a passerby. The witness saw the suspect vehicle with red/white/blue lights flashing in the front window and a car pulled over.
If you are being pulled over and become suspicious follow the recommendations below along with gathering any helpful evidence such as a physical description of the suspect and the vehicle.
Try to identify the direction of travel when the suspect leaves. If possible obtain photo evidence but only if you feel you can safely acquire it without putting yourself at risk.
– Turn your hazards on and pull over in a public area that has people. At night, drive to a well-lit area.
– Dial 911 while looking for a safe place to stop. Be aware of your location so you can describe it to the dispatcher. Confirm with the dispatcher that a legitimate officer is stopping you.
– Lock your doors and only put your window down a few inches. – Look for a uniform or other official Sheriff or Police markings on the subject’s clothing.
– If you are still unsure, explain to the officer that you are uneasy with the situation and ask to see the officer’s official department photo identification and badge. Make note of the officer’s name and department.
– Do not reach for your phone when the subject is near your vehicle. If the subject is an officer he/she may believe you’re looking for a weapon. Instead, first tell the subject you would like to reach for your phone to dial 911 to confirm the subject is a legitimate police officer.