A man believed to be impersonating a police officer has been pulling over drivers in northwest Indiana, police said.
Portage Police Chief Troy Williams said there have been at least three reports of people being pulled over by a man potentially impersonating an officer in the last month.
"We believe it was a police imposter," Williams said.
Police said a woman was pulled over in Portage last week near the intersection of Evergreen and Clydia by a man in unmarked Ford Crowd Victoria with flashing lights but no siren.
"The guy walked up to the car asked for license and registration… told her that he saw her car sitting at the bar all day and that was the reason for pulling her over," Williams said.
The woman provided the man with her driver's license and registration and submitted what she thought was a breathalyzer test.
Indiana State Police also received a report of another woman who was stopped just before 10 p.m. on July 8 on southbound Interstate 65 near mile marker 249. The woman told authorities a dark Ford Crown Victoria with red andblue lights inside the windshield pulled her over.
The woman said a man wearing brown khaki pants with a tan polo shirt, which had no markings on it, walked up to her vehicle and yelled that she was speeding.
The man was not wearing a gun belt and had no flashlight, the woman said, adding that he was “aggressive in his demeanor.” He took her driver’s license and registration back to his car, where he sat for approximately five minutes before returning her items, authorities said.
“He told her she would receive a ticket in the mail in a few weeks and if she didn’t take care of it a warrant would be issued for her arrest,” state police said in a release. “The woman stated his demeanor changed when he approached for the second time when he realized she wasn’t alone.”
A witness coming home from work witnessed the traffic stop and gave police a similar description.
The man is described by multiple drivers as an older white man with short gray hair and a mustache.
Williams said officers enforcing traffic stops should be in full uniform and driving a fully marked vehicle.
"You've got your department's name on the side, usually a bade of some sort," he said.
If you have concerns about the legitimacy of a traffic stop, police offered the following advice:
-Immediately slow down
-Activate your hazard lights to acknowledge the officer's presence
-Drive to a well-lit area or call 911 to confirm the stop is legitimate
-Explain to police why you didn't stop immediately
"Just start asking questions and if they're not giving you good answers then you know that something might be amiss," Williams said.
Police are urging anyone who believe they may have been pulled over by the man to contact local law enforcement and Indiana State Police.