In a time where officers are disrespected, targeted and vilified, it is good to know that a badge still means something.
A retired Florida cop pulled into the parking lot of Ben’s Paint Supply in Lakeland, driving his red Corvette. Two men armed with AK-47s approached the vehicle, screaming and yelling.
The driver of the car held up his wallet, revealing his badge. The would-be carjackers immediately fled the scene in a dark-colored GMC Acadia.
The entire event was captured on surveillance cameras, both in the store and on the exterior of the building.
“We literally saw everything step by step and it was terrifying,” store employee Sally Crisp told FOX 13 News. “They even took the rifle and was hitting the glass and everything, trying to get the gentleman to get out of his car. He had his wallet in his lap because he was getting ready to come in and pay and he opened it up and he flashed his badge and they took off.”
According to Fox News, the Lakeland Police Department says nobody was injured and they are still searching for the suspects, who were traveling in a “black or dark charcoal gray GMC Acadia.”
Investigators found the vehicle, but the suspects are still on the lamb, FOX 13 News reported.
“It hit me and my coworker and we both kind of just started to cry,” Crisp said. “This could have been the worst day ever, but we were very lucky that it turned out the way that it did. So, I just hope that they catch them.”
Considering the way things are unfolding in our society today, this story could have had such a different outcome. We could have been writing a story about a retired police officer being gunned down in a carjacking. We have officers being ambushed, sniped and targeted.
A man walked eight miles to assassinate a police officer in front of the police station. After killing an officer, he walked the 8 miles home. Several months ago, an officer was followed and shot as he drove home.
There are people in our society that have become so brazen that they are literally looking for opportunities to execute cops in broad daylight.
And we now have state legislators who are doing everything in their power to limit officer’s ability to defend themselves against these vicious attacks.
Thankfully, these criminals in Lakeland saw the badge and understood the capabilities that are associated with it.
We just love dumb criminal stories.
Take, for example, the one out of Hillsborough County, Florida where a man decided to play cop with the wrong guy last Thursday.
The sheriff’s office says 35-year-old Barry Lee Hastings Jr. flipped on some white and amber lights that were installed on his black Crown Victoria. He then pulled behind a man in the eastbound lanes of the roadway.
He picked the wrong car to pull over. Turns out this was a Lee County Sheriff’s deputy.
When the real cop asked the fake one for his credentials – not one, but two times – Hastings insisted he was a police officer but forgot his credentials back at the office.
He then instructed the deputy to follow him to the “station” so he could get them.
That’s not what happened. Hastings took off when the deputy called 911.
Police caught up to him on Branch Forbes Road. In his car, they found a functional siren box, a CB radio and a light setup.
He was arrested and faces a charge of impersonating an officer.
The same thing happened in Rancho Cucamonga, California last month.
Video released by the police department shows a traffic stop where police say a fake cop tried to pull over a real cop in Upland.
In the video, you could see the lights from an accused police impersonator’s Jeep Wrangler.
Police say 23-year-old Imroj Singh made a big mistake when he flipped on his red and blue lights while unknowingly trying to stop a detective.
That detective was in an unmarked car on the 210 Freeway near Baseline Street, and as soon as the Rancho Cucamonga detective realized the man wasn’t an officer… he put on his real lights and sirens.
The Jeep sped off, but the detective gave chase. Eventually the driver stopped and got out.
According to police, Singh bought the police lights on the internet and had them installed in his vehicle’s front grill to make it look like he was an undercover law enforcement vehicle.
Singh was arrested by the detective and is now facing a misdemeanor charge for impersonating a peace officer – police say he’ll be arraigned on August 5.
There may be more to the story. Detectives do not think it’s the first Singh used the police lights to stop people.
Anyone with information is being asked to call the Rancho Cucamonga Police Detective Division at 909-477-2800… or anonymously at the We-Tip hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME.
Back in February, a man impersonating a police officer was shocked when he realized a vehicle he tried to stop was the County Commissioner and former cop, reported NBC 6 Miami news.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez knew something wasn’t right when an SUV with flashing lights attempted to pull him over on the Florida Turnpike on Wednesday. Martinez noticed that the vehicle wasn’t equipped with standard lights and that it was sporting a temporary tag.
Martinez refused to comply and was able to get the attention of an officer on the side of the road, who radioed into dispatch.
JUST IN: Police impersonators tried to stop Miami-Dade Commissioner Joe Martinez on SR-836, according to sources – https://t.co/GeOpPuHDT1
— NBC 6 South Florida (@nbc6) February 13, 2019
The man, Franklin Dixon-Lozano, 27, was arrested and taken into custody. He faces charges of falsely impersonating an officer and also possessing a firearm while committing an offense, said police.
“I thank God it was me that they tried to stop for the simple reason that I know more or less what could be going on,” Martinez said. “Could you imagine a young person or elderly person who just got their license, they probably would have stopped and then what could have happened?”
Joe Martinez is the County Commissioner in District 11 of Miami-Dade and served as a former police officer in the area.
Dixon-Lozano’s bond has been set at $15,000.