CHS has more details from the victim in Wednesday night’s “gold badge” robbery in Volunteer Park involving a man who has been reportedly impersonating a cop, detaining people and stealing from them. The victim — we’re not identifying him but he is an employee at an area bar — tells CHS he wants people to know that his run-in with the impostor had nothing to do with putting himself in a dangerous situation. The victim said he was rearranging boxes in his car as he drove the liquor to work near the park Wednesday night when the thief made his move.
“I think people may not be on alert if they think it only happens in the restroom away from any activity but this was in a very public area right at the main entrance with me standing by my car, hands and legs spread being searched, so this person is very bold,” the victim tells CHS.
The victim tells us that the details released in the preliminary SPD report on his robbery incorrectly describe how the incident began.
“I had to spend several minutes moving the boxes of liquor around even taking some out and placing on sidewalk to make it fit and be able to close the hatch back,” the victim tells CHS:
After I finished I was standing a couple feet from my car finishing a cigarette and checking my email before leaving. The suspect came out of the trees that were several yards away and was loudly saying something to me but couldnt make out what he was saying, as he continued toward me it made me a bit nervous so I began to walk to my car to leave and he stopped me and said he knew me, i said,” no i dont think so”, he then said , “yes i arrested you last week and you took off when you saw my badge,” he then motioned to the gold badge on his belt.
“I believe he saw that liquor and was probably going to try to take it with my vehicle but impossible to know,” the victim says. “But I think people should be aware that this was not even on the same side of the park as the restroom, it was actually only feet from Prospect with people walking around , cars driving by and right in the open, so it seemed real.”
The bar manager’s report was the second incident of a fake police officer investigated by SPD in recent days. A week earlier on the 19th, a man told police he was detained by the impostor in the park. That incident did, indeed, start in the Volunteer Park bathroom around the same time of night — just before 8 PM. We don’t know why the narrative provided by SPD in the most recent incident was apparently conflated with the first. The victim in the first incident didn’t report the crime until the next day when he realized the phony cop had grabbed his credit card in the ruse.
The bar manager tells us his description of the suspect is close to what the first victim told police — a white male, approximately 40 years old, “scruffy looking,” with short brown/reddish hair — but perhaps closer to 30 than 40.
SPD continued to search for the suspect as of Friday night. Police are urging any other victims to come forward:
These are the only reports that we are aware of, and thought it would be helpful to warn people of these particular incidents. If anyone has any information on these crimes, or were a victim of one and have not reported it yet, please contact the Robbery Unit at (206) 684-5535.
SPD also has some advice on how to watch out for a phony:
Remember, if a non-uniformed individual is identifying himself/herself as a Seattle police officer and attempting to stop or detain you and you have doubts about their authenticity, request a uniformed officer or a supervisor to respond to the scene or simply call 911 yourself and report the circumstances.
Good advice. The bar manager victim said he was helped by friendships forged with police officers in the city over the years. When he finally settled down enough to tell the fake cop about the real cops he knew, the victim said the gold-badged impostor decided to end the ruse and move on — after secretly removing $100 in cash from the victim’s wallet.
“At this point he completely changed his demeanor and said ‘you know what your good I believe you,’ which was really strange, I then took my hands off the hood of my car, finally, and then, rather than handing me my wallet he was still behind me), he put my wallet back in my back pocket himself and said get out of here you don’t wanna be in this area tonight because it isn’t safe.”