Reporting Meghan McCorkell
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A warning from Baltimore City Police. Impersonators are on the loose, claiming to be officers, then robbing victims on the street.
Meghan McCorkell has details on this disturbing crime wave.
They’ve got a badge, a gun and claim to be city police. They jump out of an SUV and then rob their victims at gunpoint.
“This is incredibly troubling. This is a situation where individuals are posing as police officers. They’re preying on the trust that police have with the public, and really, victims are utterly vulnerable,” said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
Three attacks this weekend all happened around the Patterson Park area. The vehicle used is described as either a green Ford Explorer or a blue Expedition. The impersonators are targeting a specific vulnerable population: Hispanic immigrants.
“It’s risen to the point of there being a real dangerous element in the community,” said Jeanne Velez.
Velez holds monthly crime meetings at the Assisi House of St. Patrick Church, Sacred Heart of Jesus. She says there was a rash of impersonator robberies a few months ago. The robbers hope immigrant victims will be too scared to call police.
“They are preying on their fear of immigration status for those who may not have to be here legally in the United States at this time,” Velez said.
The news has neighbors on edge.
“It’s just really scary. It’s frightening that people would even try to attempt something like that,” said neighbor Nicole Badwak.
“That’s just incredible. Makes you wonder who you can trust,” said neighbor Kate Lucy.
All of the attacks happened between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Police plan to step up patrols in the area until the impersonators are caught.
Baltimore police say they will not ask any questions about any of the victims’ immigration status. They just want information on the suspects.