Man's Vehicle Taken By Police Impersonator, Authorities Say - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Man's Vehicle Taken By Police Impersonator, Authorities Say

There were some tense moments at a Tyler apartment complex. Police say they searched for a man who stole a vehicle from a home after he identified himself as a police officer. The theft happened at a home on Highway 31 West, near Spur 364.

The suspect took off with the vehicle, which was later recovered at Bullard Crossing Apartments. The complex is on the corner of Old Bullard Rd. and Rice Rd.  The search had residents evacuated from the building and an elementary school next door in lock down mode.

Scott Alexander, 47, says a man came to his home at around 10 in the morning and identified himself as a police officer.  "He wanted to follow me into the house so I could get dressed so he could arrest me," said  Alexander.

He says the man was wearing khaki pants, a black jacket, handcuffs and a gun. "He was showing me his badge and he was opening and shutting his billfold real quick so I didn't get a good look at it. So, I asked him to see it twice.  He did the same thing again," said Alexander.

Alexander says he sensed something was not right, so he walked over to his uncle's house next door. The man followed behind.  Alexander's uncle called 911 while the thief headed back to the house. "When I figured out what was going on I was talking to the 911 operator. He already had my jeep fired up. The doors were locked," said Alexander.

An hour later, officers found the red Jeep Cherokee about 10 miles away at Bullard Crossing Apartments.  To help officers with their search, the people who live in the apartments were evacuated. "One of the police officers unholstered their guns and told us we had to turn around and go back," said Elder Bawers, who's been living at Bullard Crossing for three months.

The tension also spread to nearby Rice Elementary School, next to the apartment complex. School officials put the campus on low-level lock down, allowing nobody to enter the building.   The suspect was not found.

Alexander says when he identified his car, everything was still inside, including his wallet, but his sense of safety is gone.  

T.I.S.D. sent a letter home with Rice Elementary students to let parents know about today's lock down.   Police describe the thief as a black male, in his early 20s, slender, about 5 feet 10 inches tall, with short hair.

Alexander says the thief was dressed in khaki pants and a black leather jacket. He had a set of handcuffs through his belt and the gun in a holster on his left side.   Police say the gun in that holster turned out to be a pellet gun. If you have any information on this case, contact the Smith County Sheriffs Department.      

Oralia Ortega, Reporting.


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