Editor’s Note: Police has updated Fox 8 to state that a suspect questioned Tuesday may not be connected to an investigation involving a fake cop crime scheme.
CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – Cleveland police say they arrested a suspect on an outstanding drug warrant Tuesday morning who was driving a vehicle that matched the description of an SUV used in a recent fake cop crime scheme.
Investigators say they followed the SUV to a home on Worley Avenue, where the driver got out of the vehicle, ran inside the home and locked the door.
The suspect was eventually arrested, but police are still investigating whether he had any connection to the fake cop scheme.
Police released pictures of vehicles Tuesday that they believed were being used by the suspects impersonating Cleveland police officers.
According to officials, police continue to investigate several other similar incidents. Police say, there have been reports of at least four individuals potentially involved and five incidents have been reported.
According to officials, the suspects are pulling motorists over while displaying red and blue strobe-type lights.
Police say, the suspects then approach the victim’s vehicle and rob the victim of valuables. In one instance the suspect even took the victim’s vehicle.
A Black Jeep Cherokee also appeared to be involved in the incidents.
Photos of the vehicle can be seen, below:
In some of the robberies, the suspects brandished an AK-style rifle, along with other firearms.
Police released the following description of each incident:
- On March 7, 2023, at 2:40 a.m., a male was traveling on Route 2 at the West 45th Street exit when a vehicle displaying police emergency-type lights pulled him over, the suspects robbed him at gunpoint of his vehicle. The suspect vehicle in that incident was possibly a dark-colored Honda Accord.
- On March 28, 2023, at approximately 9:30 a.m., in the area of 152nd Street and Lakeshore Avenue, a male was approached and pulled over by suspects in a dark-colored Jeep Grand Cherokee displaying police-emergency type lights and was then robbed at gunpoint.
- On March 31, 2023, at approximately 9:55 p.m., in the 3200 block of West 65th Street, suspects driving a Volkswagon SUV displaying police emergency-type lights pulled over and robbed victims of property at gunpoint.
- On April 1, 2023, at approximately 3:00 a.m., in the 3000 block of West 48th Street, suspects driving a Kia Sportage displaying police emergency-type lights pulled over and robbed victims of property and a vehicle at gunpoint.
- On April 2, 2023, at approximately 6:20 p.m., in the area of Broadway Avenue and Blanche Avenue, a victim reported he was driving and was followed by a vehicle that utilized police-type lights to attempt to pull him over. The victim further stated that the suspect brandished a firearm and was wearing a ballistic vest. The victim called 9-1-1 and remained on the line with dispatch as he drove to the Third District police station. While driving to the police station, the suspect vehicle went in another direction. The suspect vehicle is described as a brand-new Black Dodge Durango with heavily tinted windows and black vehicle accessories and temporary tags. A Black Jeep Cherokee also appeared to be involved.
Police note that these incidents have only involved private, unmarked vehicles. There have not been any incidents of a marked police vehicle being used in these crimes and officials say there are no reports of stolen Cleveland police vehicles.
The public is encouraged to call 911 if an unmarked vehicle attempts to pull them over and they are concerned about whether an officer is truly behind the wheel of the unmarked vehicle.
Anonymous information can be provided by calling Crimestoppers at 216-25-CRIME.