tbo: Tampa Bay Online.
Saturday, Nov 17, 2018
  • Home
Public safety

Hernando sheriff's office: Another man poses as cop

BROOKSVILLE - The Hernando County Sheriff's Office said on Monday another individual posed as a law enforcement officer in the area, according to a media release. The sheriff's office said around 5:30 p.m. a man acting as a law enforcement officer pulled over a vehicle at Waterfall Drive and Bern Lane in Spring Hill, then instructed the female driver to pull into the Kass Circle medical offices parking lot. The imposter told the victim to perform field sobriety exercises. The suspect is described as an about 45-year-old white male, about 6 feet, 1 inch tall and about 220 pounds with brown hair and a gray mustache. The man was driving an unmarked white Crown Victoria with a single flashing light on the roof with a wire leading to the driver's door or window. An out-of-state, yellow rear plate was noted. The victim also advised the suspect wore a green polo shirt with gold or yellow writing in one of the upper corners and dark pants. He did not display a gun or law enforcement credentials.
This is the third instance of a man impersonating a law enforcement office this month, according to the sheriff's office. On Saturday, a fired sheriff's deputy from Kenosha, Wis., was arrested after authorities said he posed as an officer in a Taco Bell parking lot on Spring Hill Drive. Ryan Romano, 31, cut off a vehicle attempting to turn around, flashed a badge in his wallet and collected identification cards from the passengers. The passengers questioned Romano when he asked them to exit the vehicle so he could search it, then left when the occupants said they were going to call real law enforcement. Romano was arrested later in the day at the Spring Haven Apartments and was held on no bond because he reportedly threatened law enforcement and posed a flight risk. The first incident occurred on Feb. 3, when a man in a Crown Victoria with flashing lights initiated a traffic stop at Cortez Boulevard near McKethran Road. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office said the man was about 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighed about 200 pounds. He did not have any law enforcement markings on his clothes or vehicle but carried what looked like a Glock handgun. Sheriff Al Nienhuis advised area residents to "be careful" and "use good judgment." Nienhuis said 911 can confirm a legitimate traffic stop, and individuals without a cellphone should pull over in a well-lit area. "Never change locations at the request of the law enforcement officer," said Nienhuis, adding an officer will not ask you to do this. Nienhuis also advised neither stepping out nor giving identification unless you're sure an officer is legitimate. "Please do not call 9-1-1 to report every white Crown Victoria that you see … just call to report suspicious vehicles, questionable traffic stops, and/or other suspicious activity," Nienhuis said in the release. According to Nienhuis, his office is investigating leads and working to determine if the instances are related.
Weather Center