Two unknown men allegedly posed as law officers and robbed a man and a woman Thursday night, according to a statement this morning by the Asheville Police Department.
“[T]wo men are impersonating law enforcement and have used this ruse to rob people,” the statement says. Shortly after 8 p.m., it adds, the department received a report of a robbery in the parking lot of a Bingham Road residence. There, a man and a woman were sitting in a car when they “were approached by two white males getting out of what appeared to be an undercover police vehicle” — a white Dodge Charger sporting blue and red lights, according to the statement.
The suspects were wearing black long-sleeved shirts, a police report says, with one of the shirts having white stripes down the side. They approached the parked vehicle with flashlights, telling the man and woman that there had been accident nearby and they needed to inspect their car. They went on to ask the man to exit the car and pat him down, then “searched” the vehicle and allegedly took the woman’s belongings, which included cash, an ID card and a debit card.
The statement offered the victims’ description of the bogus cops: “Both suspects were 6’ tall, with dark hair. One had a thin build and a tattoo (unknown design) on his left forearm. The other suspect was described as heavier set and he had a goatee. Both were said to be in their 20s-30s.”
Anyone with information on the incident is asked to call the APD at 252-1110. The department offered up these tips on how to respond if you encounter a suspected police impersonator:
• If you’re not sure that a law enforcement vehicle is legitimate and you have a cell phone, dial 9-1-1, and tell the call-taker you are being followed or are being signaled to stop by an unmarked vehicle. Ask them to send a marked law enforcement vehicle to your location.
• If you don’t have a cell phone or are still not sure, turn on your dome light and flashers and drive slowly to the nearest well-lit, populated area — a gas station or convenience store, for example — before pulling to a stop.
• Never jeopardize your personal safety. Cooperate and keep note of as much information as possible, such as suspect and vehicle descriptions, so that you can be a good witness.
Visit The Xpress Files to read the full text of the APD’s public warning and incident reports from the crime.
— Jon Elliston, managing editor