He even had a makeshift uniform and fake badge.
A Colorado man has been arrested for allegedly impersonating a police officer while behind the wheel of his Dodge Durango. The suspect, Jose Flores Ortiz, was traveling down Interstate 76 when he attempted to pull a vehicle over. Unfortunately for him, he chose the wrong car and driver.
Off-duty police officer Gilbert Abdulla told CBS Colorado that he noticed the SUV driving erratically. "I noticed a vehicle -- a Dodge Durango with racing stripes - immediately get...close to the back of my truck." County Deputy Abdulla noticed the light strip in the windscreen and reached for his radio to confirm his suspicions.
"At one point he was so close to me it looked odd, so I reached over and grabbed my police radio and turned it on and sure enough the red and blue lights came on behind me." Dispatch assured Abdulla that no officer was attempting to pull him over.
At this point, Ortiz had gotten bored and moved on to intimidating another motorist. Abdulla followed, but the wannabe patrolman noticed and set his sights on the off-duty police officer yet again. "He started slamming on his brakes and brake-checking me," recalled Abdulla.
For Ortiz, his short-lived stint as a misdirected vigilante came to an end when both vehicles eventually pulled over. According to Abdulla, the suspect exited his Durango and approached his target. Rather amusingly, he was wearing a security shirt and carrying a fake badge of sorts.
Abdulla swiftly detained the man until Brighton law enforcement arrived. To make matters worse, the police found weapons and alcohol in the car. Ortiz was charged with several crimes, including reckless driving, impersonating a police officer, illegal use and possession of police lights, driving under the influence, and more.
"At first it was an 'Oh shoot' moment, and then it was almost him wanting to smooth it over like 'I'm just like you,'" added Abdulla. Thankfully, this happened to a seasoned police officer - things could have gone awry if Ortiz pulled over an unassuming citizen.
In a Facebook post, Brighton Police warned motorists of this alarming trend. "As a reminder, official law enforcement vehicles come in many different sizes and shapes, so if you ever have a question about an unmarked vehicle pulling you over, please put your hazards on, continue at a safe speed, and call 911 to confirm the identity of the vehicle."
For example, one wouldn't expect a Challenger SRT Hellcat to be used as an official police car. But Marion County has an example of the 707-horsepower muscle car in its fleet.
This problem is common across the country. In January, a Florida man was arrested after he was caught impersonating a police officer in an official police vehicle. Fernando Torres, an employee at an auto repair shop, was supposed to deliver the unmarked Chevrolet Camaro to its precinct when he decided to conduct an illegal stop.
Unfortunately for Torres, a nearby police officer suspected something was wrong. Torres was later arrested and even lost his job as a result. This isn't the most bizarre case we've heard of, though. A few years back, a scorned 22-year-old used his father's police cruiser to harass his ex-girlfriend and her new partner.
A moment of revenge turned into a lifetime of pain for Christopher Combs. His bizarre act saw charges of false imprisonment and impersonating a police officer hurled at him, ruining his chances of becoming a police officer (he was a cadet) and tarnishing his family name.