TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa police arrested a man Saturday morning after he was caught impersonating a police officer and pulling people over, according to a release.
The Tampa Police Department said officers got a call about a suspicious SUV with red and blue lights driven by a man who was acting like a police officer in the area of New Tampa Boulevard.
A Tampa police officer found fake cop John Inglis, 26, of Tampa on Bruce B Downs Boulevard as he tried to pull a civilian over and get their license, registration, and proof of insurance, according to the department.
Police said when Inglis saw the real police officer, he gave the driver back their documents and walked back to his SUV. The officer then took Inglis into custody.
Further investigation found that Inglis had been a suspect in a separate incident investigated by the Florida Highway Patrol that same morning.
According to the investigators, Inglis had previously taken someone’s gun and bullets after pulling them over on I-75. A gun matching the stolen weapon’s description was later found when police searched his vehicle.
The Tampa Police Department said Inglis was also issued an active Risk Protection Order.
“It’s extremely concerning,” Public Information Officer Eddy Durkin said. “Any type of traffic stop in and of itself is a dangerous situation for a police officer because they don’t know what they’re approaching. Now, we do know that this person has a gun. So these officers were on a very high level of alert.”
The news was incredibly scary to drivers in the area.
“It could happen to anyone and it could lead to something even more dangerous,” Michael Vu said.
Driver Sean Daley says the first thing he’d do is ask questions.
“I’d be asking for badge numbers and asking for a supervisor before I got anywhere near that man or gave him anything like that,” Daley said. “Proves you that thieves don’t get guns legally. They’ll get them in any shape or form they can.”
The department also gave the following tips if you think a fake police officer is trying to pull you over:
- Look for a safe place to pull over
- Signal your intent and slow down (activate your hazard lights)
- Call 911 to confirm it is an officer; be sure to provide the call-taker with your location, vehicle description and license plate
- Keep your doors locked while the dispatcher checks
- Ask the officer for their name and badge number, and confirm the information with 911.