Deputies investigate yet another report of police impersonation along Rt. 340
The Augusta County Sheriff's Office is investigating a second report of a police impersonator in the same area in less than a week.
On Sunday, July 21, a moped rider
flashed a blue light and told him to pull over while passing through Crimora on Eastside Highway. That car then kept going south toward Waynesboro.
Now, deputies say another report came in on Friday, July 26.
Around 9:45 p.m. that evening, an Augusta County woman was driving north on Eastside Hwy. when she said a large, dark-colored sedan activated a blue flashing light and tried to pull her over.
She did exactly what police recommend doing when you're unsure if a vehicle pulling you over is actually law enforcement — she called the Augusta County Emergency Communications Center and asked them to verify the legitimacy of the traffic stop.
That's when she found out that no law enforcement officers from the Augusta County Sheriff's Office or Virginia State Police were making any stops on Eastside Highway at that time.
She kept driving, and the impersonator continued following her for about five minutes, she told deputies, before the vehicle passed her and kept going north on Route 340.
Deputies converged on the location, but were unable to find the suspect.
The only description is a large, dark-colored sedan with a cheap or low-powered blue flashing light.
That description is similar to the one given by the Augusta County Sheriff's Office
when someone reportedly shone a spotlight from an SUV and turned on a blue flashing light on their dashboard near Country Estates Mobile Home Park.
If you have any information about this or past incidents, you're asked to call the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office at (540) 245-5333.
Impersonating law enforcement is a class one misdemeanor.
In Augusta County, there have now been 3 impersonation cases since the start of 2019. There were 3 in all of 2018.
Deputies say if you see a vehicle attempting to pull you over, but you're uncertain if it's actually law enforcement, you are within your rights to slow your speed, turn on your hazard lights, and pull over once you find the first safe place available. At night, that would be a well-lit area with other people around.
If an unmarked car is trying to pull you over, a good indicator that it is a real law enforcement officer would be the lights. Official unmarked police vehicles have more than just one, and they flash in different locations on the vehicle.
Sheriff Donald Smith also said real cop cars have sirens and horns.
If you have doubts about a "police" vehicle pulling you over or if there is no safe place nearby, you can call 911. The dispatcher should be able to determine if the vehicle pulling you over is, in fact, law enforcement.
If you know anything about the reported impersonator in Crimora, you should call the Augusta County Sheriff’s Office at 540-245-5333 or Crime Stoppers at 800-322-2017.