BALTIMORE (WJZ)– There have been a series of violent attacks by people claiming to be police officers. They have badges, handcuffs, and guns, but they’re not the good guys.
Monique Griego has more on the growing trend.
At this point, police don’t know if all the cases are linked together but they are almost identical in their intense level of violence and the brazen lie suspects are telling their victims.
On the streets of Baltimore City, criminals are using a new weapon to attack.
“Preying on the trust of victims,” said Anthony Guglielmi, Baltimore Police Department spokesman.
Police say groups of men are impersonating officers to get inside homes across the city to rob them. The frightening trend started in July when houses in Federal Hill and Ednor Gardens were targeted. Victims were beat up or shot.
“That scares the pants off of me,” said a neighbor.
“I just went and bought a dead bolt that locks from both sides,” Jennifer said.
And just before 3:30 a.m. Thursday, detectives say three men barged into a house on the 2800-block of Hilldale Avenue shouting “police raid.” They handcuffed three residents, then scoured for valuables. When one man broke free, a suspect shot him in the face.
“If they are and you don’t do what they say, you’re in trouble,” said Nakia Green of Northwest Baltimore. “If you do what they say and they’re not, you’re in trouble. So what are you supposed to do?”
Investigators say the suspects were even dressed like officers, one man had a badge. So WJZ asked police how people can tell the difference between what’s fake and what’s real.
“Individuals who don’t have a history, prior contact with police, officers will not randomly break down your door and announce a raid,” Guglielmi explained. “That’s not how business is conducted.”
Police say their best advice is to use your gut and to call 911 if something seems sketchy.
“Scared to let any of them in now,” said Warner Sappington of Northwest Baltimore. “You gotta show more than a badge now.”
Police have arrested at least one person in connection with the attacks but everyone else, including the ones from Thursday morning’s attack, are still out there. Police are asking for your help to catch them.
Police say the suspects in Thursday morning’s case fled the scene in a silver vehicle.