Phony cop lands in real trouble in Palo Alto


Police in Palo Alto are searching for a man who allegedly impersonated a police officer and displayed a weapon after stopping a teen boy who was riding a bicycle last week, a spokesman said Monday.

At 9:06 p.m. last Friday, a citizen called Palo Alto police about a suspicious incident that occurred at around 4 p.m. that day on Greer Road at Ivy Lane, police Sgt. Brian Philip said.

A pair of male high school students had been riding their bicycles in the bike lane on Channing Avenue near Rhodes Drive when they heard a voice on a public address system from a car order them to ride single file instead of side-by-side, Philip said.

The boys thought it was a police car, complied with the order and then parted ways at Greer Road, officers reported. The driver of the vehicle followed one of the teens, used the public address system to order the boy to halt and turned on police-style flashing lights inside the car, police said.

After the teen stopped riding his bike, the car pulled up beside him and the suspect, while still seated, showed him a badge and angrily lectured him about his riding habits, according to officers.

The driver then displayed a weapon, described as either a stun gun or handgun, pointed it up to the roof of the vehicle so that the boy could see it and then drove from the scene, Philip said.

The teen rode his bicycle home and reported the incident to his parents, police said. The student described the man as a fair-skinned adult male in his 60s, about 5 feet 10 inches tall with a heavy build, wearing a light blue collared shirt similar to a uniform shirt, according to officers.

The badge shown by the suspect was silver with a color design on it and a green tree in the center. His car was a cream-colored, four-door sedan with radio antennas on the roof, police reported.

The teen met with a police sketch artist who completed a drawing of the suspect, police said. Police are investigating the matter and are urging those with information to call the department’s 24-hour dispatch center at (650) 329-2413 or phone or sent a text to the anonymous tip line at (650) 383-8984.

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