Trust factor makes it easy for cops to be impersonated - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Trust factor makes it easy for cops to be impersonated

A uniform, gun, and a badge are usually tell-tale signs of a real cop.  But Memphis police say Robbie Chandler and Geoff McElroy have been using them too.

"I think it's very, very scary," says Sheila Dempsey.

Dempsey shops at the same supermarket where fake cops have struck.

"These days, you just never know what to expect," says Dempsey.

A shopper was making her way to her car last week when another car pulled up.  A man got out wearing a uniform and a badge.  He said he was checking for counterfeit cash.  The man pulled out a gun and took the lady's money.  A separate incident was reported the same day at the Willow Oaks Apartments on Ketchum.  This time, two men wearing badges around their necks told a male victim to "spread 'em."  They demanded the man's wallet before speeding away with it.

"They're the authority, they're the boss," says Memphian Junior Beach.  "When they got that badge, you gotta do what they say," he says.

It's that trust that likely makes this crime easier for crooks.  Dempsey admits, she'd probably cooperate with anyone carrying an authentic-looking badge.

"yea, that's a scary thought," says Dempsey.

But police say you're best bet is too give them what they want.

"Things like that can be replaced and that money can be replaced, so let them have it," says Memphian Charles Waller.  "I mean, your life is more valuable and more important," he adds.

Equally important is putting these suspected police impersonators behind REAL bars.

If you have any information on these crimes or the suspects, call Crimestoppers at 528-CASH.

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