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Calif. Teen Arrested For Impersonating Officer Made A Traffic Stop, House Calls

A still image from a video that shows a teen impersonating a deputy sheriff.

A 14-year-old is in custody in California after pretending to be a deputy sheriff. Victorville Police officials have arrested and booked the teen, who visited homes and pulled a woman over while dressed in a San Bernardino deputy sheriff's uniform.

The police department tweeted a video Wednesday showing what it found when officers searched the teen's home: the San Bernardino uniform he had used to impersonate an officer, a wig, "a large amount" of counterfeit money, multiple ballistic vests and simulation firearms.

"As you can see, he managed to collect quite a lot of equipment," Mara Rodriguez, the spokeswoman for the Victorville Police Department, told NPR on Thursday. Rodriguez said that some of the equipment was purchased online, though the department is still working to figure out where much of it came from.

The teen was driving a white Ford Explorer that belonged to his great-grandparents. He had attached flashing blue and red emergency lights to the inside of the windshield. The car had no law enforcement identifiers other than the lights, and the license plates had been removed, police said in a statement.

The young man was dressed in a police uniform with a simulation firearm in a holster when he paid a Victorville couple a visit Monday evening, claiming to be an officer investigating a domestic disturbance. The couple told him they had not called the police to report an incident and that there was no disturbance.

At this point, authorities said, the teen tried to open the couple's door, but found it locked. He left soon after, and the homeowners reported the incident.

"Sergeant J. Monroe saw a Ford Explorer matching the description of that involved in the incident," police said. "He conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and confirmed it was a match. The 14-year old great-grandson of the registered owner was detained and later identified as the suspect."

The officers also learned that was not his only stop of the evening. After opening an investigation, officers discovered the teen had two other encounters before visiting the couple.

First, he pulled a woman over for a traffic violation before "letting her off with a warning." Later, he stopped at a home where a 16-year-old opened the door. Once again he claimed to be an officer investigating a domestic incident.

Victorville police said they are still trying to figure out who the other two people are and if there are other people who might have encountered the teen.

"We don't really know how long he's been doing this, and that's what we are trying to figure out right now," Rodriguez said. "We don't know for sure what he was trying to do ... it looks like he was just wanting to pretend to be a deputy."

The teen, who is on probation, was arrested and booked at High Desert Juvenile Detention Center.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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