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Officers from the Temecula Police Department are urging area residents to be careful about possible police impersonators after two separate incidents in which people were asked to exit their vehicles by unknown figures, a Sheriff’s official reported.
The first incident occured at 6:45 p.m. at the intersection of Lakehouse Road and Harveston Drive and the second occurred at 8:40 p.m. in the 31000 block of Sonoma Lane.
During each incident, people were asked to exit their vehicles and lie on the ground after a vehicle of unknown make or model pulled beside theirs and used a loudspeaker to give them orders, according to a Riverside County Sheriff’s report.
The individuals giving the victims orders then sped off in their own vehicle, according to the report.
Both sets of victims believed that there were two individuals giving them orders in the adjacent vehicle. The individuals used a bright, lighted device to obstruct the victim’s view of the vehicle, Sheriff’s Sgt. Leonard Purvis said.
Purvis said that given the likelyhood that these individuals were posing as law enforcement officials, area residents should take certain precautions.
When trying to determine whether an individual is an actual law enforcement officer, individuals should look for certain tell-tale signs and take certain actions:
- Emergency lighting equipment is generally permanently affixed to police vehicles.
- Law enforcement officers are required by law to wear identifying insignia, such as a uniform, badge, or other clear markings identifying which agency they represent.
- If you are stopped by law enforcement, remain in your vehicle and wait for the officer to approach.
- Try to avoid loitering in dark, isolated areas during night hours.
- If you must remain in your parked vehicle for an extended period of time, try to find a lighted and populated area.
- Report any suspicious persons or suspicious activity to local law enforcement.
If anyone has any further information regarding this incident, or any similar incidents, please contact the Temecula Police Department at 951-696-3000.