Cop impersonator strikes again, tries to enforce non-existent lockdown, sheriff says

Days after a man pretended to be a Gainesville police officer and pulled over a woman’s vehicle for violating a fake curfew, Dawson County authorities said they believe the suspect tried the same thing in their county.

On Friday, a woman contacted deputies about an incident that took place about 9:30 p.m. the day before on Ga. 136 near Shoal Creek Road, according to a Dawson County Sheriff’s Office incident report obtained by AJC.com.

The woman told deputies that her and her boyfriend were returning home from grabbing dinner in Gainesville when she was pulled over by an apparent unmarked patrol car, the report said.

She said an apparent officer walked to her driver-side window and asked where she was going, since everyone was supposed to be "locked down" due to the coronavirus pandemic, the report said. The supposed officer asked them both for their driver's licenses, which they gave him.

Minutes later, he returned to their vehicle and “verbally reprimanded her” for having a cellphone in her lap, the report said. The supposed officer said that violated the Hands-Free Georgia Act, threatening to issue her a citation.

RELATED: The Hands-Free Georgia Act: What's legal, what's not

The man let the duo drive off, telling them to return home and stay indoors since the area was on lockdown — which is not true in Dawson County. The county has enacted local emergency measures, such as shutting down in-restaurant dining, but it hasn't issued a mandatory shelter in place policy or a curfew.

The two said the man drove a dark-colored sedan, which is smaller and rounder than a Ford Crown Victoria. The vehicle was also fitted with a flashing blue light.

“We urge our commuters to please exercise caution and be vigilant if being stopped,” Sheriff Jeff Johnson said in a Facebook post about the incident. “Today’s patrol vehicles are equipped with excessive amounts of emergency lights. Knowing this, a single dash-mounted strobe light should raise suspicion. Coupled with secluded areas should be of concern.”

We would like to make all citizens aware of an individual impersonating a deputy within Dawson and Hall Counties. Please...

Posted by Dawson County Sheriff's Office - Dawsonville, GA on Friday, March 27, 2020

The woman described the impersonator as being in his late 30s or early 40s, the report said. He was about 5-foot-11 and weighed about 200 pounds. He also wore a gun holster on his belt and carried a flashlight.

The sheriff’s office looked through traffic stop records to confirm that no Dawson County deputy performed this traffic stop, which is when investigators tied it to a similar case in Gainesville on March 24.

Gainesville police said a man pulled over a woman about 8:15 p.m., telling her that she was violating the city's curfew — which also does not exist.

MORE: Man pretended to be Gainesville officer, tried to enforce non-existent curfew

STAY VIGILANT GAINESVILLE: A male falsely identifying himself as a Gainesville Police Officer conducted a traffic stop...

Posted by Gainesville Police Department on Thursday, March 26, 2020

The suspect drove a dark-colored Ford sedan, possibly a Taurus, which had a blue light flashing from inside the vehicle, police said. The department did not release a description of the impersonator.

On Tuesday, a similar incident was reported in Jackson County after an older man pretended to be a deputy and tried to pull over a vehicle, Sheriff Janis Mangum said. Her investigators do not know why the suspect tried to conduct a traffic stop.

These acts are the latest misinformation attempts stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, which has prompted several Georgia cities and counties to enact real curfews and shelter in place orders.

RELATED: Shelter in place order: What it means for you and local businesses

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Dawson County Sheriff’s Office at 706-344-3636 or call 911.

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