NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Her badge was a fake, but her crime was frighteningly real. A woman is now wanted for pretending to be a cop in order to steal from a woman on the Upper West Side.
CBS 2’s Dave Carlin has obtained video of a suspect who’s on the run from cops while pretending to be one.
On the video, it’s easy to spot the shiny badge on the belt of the woman, who was captured on a bank surveillance system. However, the NYPD said it is a sham of shield used by a con artist to steal.
“If you see a police badge you think someone’s the police,” UWS resident Tiffany Walker said Thursday.
“How do you really know it’s a police officer?” added tourist Zohra Campbell.
The woman with the badge stopped another woman outside the bank at the corner of Broadway and 79th Street, identifying herself as an officer and gaining access to the victim’s purse before getting away with her debit card, police said.
Almost a full month after that crime, police released the video in the hope it will help them close in on a criminal they said is not only abusing the public’s trust, but is also making all the real officers’ job harder.
“I don’t believe in anybody,” one man said.
“It is undermining trust with law enforcement at all levels of law enforcement,” retired NYPD detective Sal Lifrieri added.
Lifrieri, owner of security consulting firm Protective Countermeasures, said there were red flags in this particular case, tips that the woman wasn’t an officer.
He said undercover officers rarely work alone, and would probably not reach into your purse or pocket. He said his advice would be if you think the situation is fishy, demand backup.
“You could ask that person ‘can I speak to your supervisor?’” Lifrieri said. “Or get on your cell phone and call 911. Chances are the impersonator is going to push off and move away.”
The real cops who are chasing this alleged fake one said when they catch her they’ll charge her with grand larceny and criminal impersonation.
The NYPD said it has a dedicated Police Impersonation Unit that has handled eight major cases so far this year.
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