Officials: 14-year-old conducted traffic stops, ‘responded’ to homes while posing as deputy
VICTORVILLE, Calif. – A teen accused of posing as a law enforcement officer in multiple incidents in California's San Bernardino County, including one in which he allegedly initiated a traffic stop on an unsuspecting driver, has been arrested, authorities said Wednesday.
On Monday, the 14-year-old boy was allegedly driving an SUV with flashing red and blue emergency lights mounted on the inside of the front windshield when he pulled into a driveway in the 13600 block of Mica Avenue in Victorville, according to a news release from the Victorville Police Department.
The white Ford Explorer had no law enforcement or other type of markers to identify it as a patrol vehicle beyond the emergency lights, nor were there any license plates.
After exiting the parked SUV, the teen went to the front door and told residents he was there to investigate a report of a domestic disturbance. The juvenile was dressed in a San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department uniform, complete with a belt holster that contained a firearm, authorities said.
The homeowner told him that no one in the residence had placed the call and closed the door. The teen tried to open it, but it was locked.
A short time later, the homeowner left the house and followed the boy to the driveway, where the pair had a brief exchange, authorities said.
The fake officer left and the homeowner called police to inform them of the "suspicious encounter," the release stated.
The next day, a sergeant spotted a Ford Explorer matching a description of the teen's vehicle and pulled the driver over. After confirming the SUV was a match, the sergeant detained the 14-year-old, who officers learned was the great-grandson of the vehicle's registered owner.
Investigators searched the boy's home and found the uniform worn during Monday's incident, authorities said. At the residence, detectives also uncovered large amounts of counterfeit money, and simulation firearms and ballistic vests, among other law enforcement-related items.
A further investigation revealed two additional incidents on Monday night when the teen allegedly impersonated a law enforcement officer, including one where police say he pulled over a female motorist in the area of Amethyst Road. The suspect was able to get the driver's information and he let her go with a warning, according to the release.
In another case, the teen activated his emergency lights in the area of Cobalt Road, prompting a 16-year-old boy to come out of his home.
Again, the teen said he was responding to the residence to investigate a domestic disturbance call. He left upon being told there was no disturbance at the location, according to the release.
Authorities have not identified the suspect, who they said was already on probation. He was arrested and booked at the High Desert Juvenile Detention Center.