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Sheriff’s deputies investigating reports of people impersonating peace officers

The Merced County Sheriff’s Department located a vehicle that matched the description of a vehicle that may have been used by a suspect impersonating a peace officer.
The Merced County Sheriff’s Department located a vehicle that matched the description of a vehicle that may have been used by a suspect impersonating a peace officer.

The Merced County Sheriff’s Office has received at least two reports this month of people impersonating a peace officer.

The first report came on Nov. 4 when people in a black or dark-colored Ford Crown Victoria type vehicle turned on red and blue emergency lights in the area of Shaffer Road and Walnut Avenue to pull over a driver in another vehicle. When the driver pulled over, four people exited the suspicious vehicle and approached the driver’s car and tried to enter the vehicle. The driver drove off and contacted the Sheriff’s Office.

The second incident involved a suspicious SUV, which may have the word “Police” on it but it’s not certain, authorities said.

The second incident occurred when the reporting party saw the suspicious SUV parked in an alleyway near the Dollar General store in Winton.

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 Ave. The reporting party turned right on Walnut Avenue and the suspicious SUV turned left on Walnut.

The Merced County Sheriff’s Office STAR team is investigating if these vehicles were official law enforcement vehicles. They 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 at this time. The investigation is ongoing.

No weapons were reported of being used in either incident.

The Merced Sheriff’s Office would like to remind drivers if you are pulled over to find a well-lit area when possible. Don’t get out of your vehicle and keep the doors locked. Only roll down your window so you can communicate with the officer.

The Sheriff’s office is looking for information regarding these incidents. If you have information on these incidents contact the Merced County Sheriff’s Office at 209-385-7445. Your tip can remain anonymous.

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