A rash of creepy cop impersonators in Colorado may be connected to the coronavirus crisis, according to a report.
Cops in Colorado have identified at least six instances of people posing as police officers pulling cars over in the last two weeks, with incidents reported from Aurora to Fort Collins to Greeley, the Denver Post reports.
The suspects — described by witnesses as men dressed in dark uniforms with “no markings” — have generally let drivers go after questioning them amid Colorado’s stay-at-home mandate.
But one police impersonator in Erie ordered a woman to drive home and then followed her before leaving, the newspaper reports.
No arrests have been made as of late Thursday.
“If you’re not sure, definitely call 911 to see if it’s a legitimate stop,” Weld County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Joe Moylan told the newspaper. “We don’t typically use unmarked cars. And we’re definitely not doing it now.”
One suspect in Weld County believed to have stopped at least two drivers was likely acting on a “power trip,” Moylan said.
Brett King, a senior instructor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Colorado Boulder, agreed with that assessment.
“People are drawn to social roles of authority,” King said. “That gives us a sense of control when sometimes other things don’t make sense.”
The fake cops may also be motivated by boredom or simply taking advantage of the chaos associated with the pandemic, according to Harvey Milkman, an emeritus professor of psychology at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
“This is a period of enormous stress,” Milkman told the Denver Post. “And when people are under stress and it passes their limit, judgment starts to deteriorate, and it can manifest in a lot of ways. People can rationalize it ands think they’re doing something for the benefit of the community.”
Weld County sheriff officials said Wednesday they had received reports of a white “heavy-set” man driving a black Dodge Charger while stopping vehicles throughout the county.
“It is believed the Charger is a 2016 or similar model,” deputies said. “The suspect is described as a heavy-set white man of medium height with light hair. He might also be wearing dark clothing he is trying to pass off as a police uniform.”
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