Police Warn East Texans To Watch Out For Man Impersonating An Officer

A warning for East Texans. Police say a man pretending to be a police officer has pulled over at least two women in the area in the past week, asking them to step out of their cars.

It's happening late at night in the area between Ben Wheeler and Van, along Highway 64 in Smith and Van Zandt County.

In one case, a young woman said she was approached on two separate occasions by this man.

"I was like crying. I was really scared," she said.

She did not want to be identified. However, she wanted the public to know what happened.

The young woman said she was driving down Highway 64 late Saturday night when a black car with a lone red light on the roof, pulled behind her and waved her to pull over.

"(He) took my driver's license and registration and he came back 10 or 15 minutes later," she said.

"He told me I smelled like alcohol and he wanted me to get out of the car. He was like you have to get out of the car because I'm an officer and said so."

She said she knew something was wrong when she saw no badge and asked for identification. He refused.

"He told me he didn't have to show me any type of I.D. or badge or anything. He was pretty persistent. My doors were locked but he tried to open the car door."

She said after arguing with him, he drove away. Then it happened again Tuesday night. She said she called the police from her car. Something she believes scared him away.

Tyler Police Officer Don Martin said if you aren't sure an officer is the real deal, here's what you can do.

"What I would recommend to do is not to pull over, get to a well lit area," Martin said. "Keep your doors locked, your windows up. Just crack your window enough where you can talk to the person if they approach your vehicle."

Martin said to ask for I.D. or call 911 to verify the officer who has pulled you over. He also warns a patrol unit would not have a single red light but several colored lights.

Police said the best thing you can do is be a good witness. Call them immediately and try to get a license plate number. That could take the impersonator off the streets soon and keep anyone from getting hurt.

Police said the man impersonating a police officer is a white male, 30 to 35 years old. He has dark hair, and wears a goatee. He is about six feet tall, has a stocky build and was wears a dark uniform with no badge.

The car he uses is a black four door with a red light on top. If you spot a man or a vehicle fitting this description contact the Van Zandt County Sheriff's Department or the Tyler Police Department.

Maya Golden reporting,