A high school student was pulled over by a police impersonator who displayed either a stun gun or a handgun on Greer Road at Ivy Lane on Sept. 5, the Palo Alto police department is reporting.
After reprimanding the student for committing a traffic violation, the fake cop drove away and remains at large, a press release states.
Two male high school students had been riding their bicycles in the bike lane on Channing Avenue near Rhodes Drive when they heard a voice over a public address system behind them order them to ride single file instead of side-by-side, they told police.
They looked back, saw it was a car with no police markings, and -- thinking it was an unmarked police car -- they complied. The two students kept riding and parted ways at Greer.
The vehicle followed one of the students and again used the public address system to order the student to stop. When the student looked back, he saw flashing police-style lights emanating from inside the car. He stopped his bicycle, and the car drove up next to him, police said.
The police impersonator remained seated in the car, showed the teenager a badge and then proceeded to "angrily lecture him about his riding habits," the press release states.
The man produced a weapon, which the student described as either a stun gun or a handgun, and held it up pointed at the roof of his car so the student could see it. The man then drove away. The student rode home and later told his parents what had happened.
The student described the suspect as a white male in his 60s with balding, short gray hair. He was about 5 feet 10 inches tall and had a heavy build. He was wearing a light-blue collared shirt, similar to a uniform shirt. The badge he displayed was silver but had a color design on it, with a green tree in the center, the police stated.
The man's vehicle was a cream-colored, four-door sedan and had radio antennas on the roof. The student met with a police artist (see sketch).
Detectives are investigating this incident and are checking with other law enforcement agencies, police said. No similar cases have been reported in Palo Alto.
Police are asking that anyone with information about this incident call the 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413. Anonymous tips can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or sent via text message or voicemail to 650-383-8984. Tips can also be submitted anonymously through the department's free mobile app, downloadable at bit.ly/PAPD-AppStore or bit.ly/PAPD-GooglePlay.