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Police impersonator gropes young woman?

October 27, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The search is on for a man who allegedly impersonated a police officer and groped a woman in Palmdale. The victim says she was driving on Sierra Highway near Avenue S just before 11 p.m. Saturday when she was pulled over by a dark colored sedan with flashing blue lights.

She says a man in a dark uniform with a badge told her she was weaving and made her get out of the car. The victim says the man asked her to take a sobriety test.

She told police the man then began to frisk her up against the car.

"He began to grope her and fondle her in ways that she felt was inappropriate for a police officer," said Lt. Dustin Stillwell from the L.A. County Sheriff's Department. "She struggled to get away from him, ended up kicking him several times and was able to get away from him, get to her car and she was able to drive off."

The woman was taken to a local hospital to be examined, but she was not hurt.

"It's really scary. You know, because you don't know who to trust. And then if it is a cop you're gonna get more in trouble for not pulling over," said Diana Carilla, a Palmdale resident.

"I've heard on the news that you can go ahead and ask them for their number ... For safety reasons, if you don't feel safe, then you can call a police number ... So you can go ahead and check on that police officer," said Cindy Sandoval, another Palmdale resident.

Officials say if you feel unsafe, you should call 911.

"And they can tell the officer please have a marked unit respond - all the time cooperating with the officer of course - and I'll be more than happy to cooperate when I see a marked patrol unit," said Lt. Stillwell.

The suspect is described as Hispanic, 30 to 40 years old, about five feet ten inches, and between 170 and 190 pounds. He was driving a dark colored Ford, possibly a Crown Victoria, with spotlights and a forward flashing blue light.


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