Jose Flores Ortiz was arrested this week in Brighton, Colorado, after making the mistake of pulling over an off-duty police officer. The suspect is accused of using lights and a silver badge to impersonate a police officer on the road.
Speaking to CBS Colorado, Adams County Deputy Gilbert Abdulla said he was driving on I-76 when a Dodge Durango with racing stripes caught his attention. The SUV pulled up close to the officer and starting following very closely.
That’s when he saw a strip of LED lights illuminate over the Durango‘s dash. Something about the vehicle got his hackles up, though, and he felt that something was wrong. “This can’t be real” he recalled thinking.
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“At one point he was so close to me, it looked odd. So I reached over and grabbed my police radio and turned it on and sure enough the red and blue lights came on behind me,” said Abdulla.
He figured, though, that the vehicle behind him couldn’t be a real officer, so he radioed dispatch, which confirmed no officer was attempting to pull him over. The Durango apparently then started following another vehicle, before returning to Abdulla’s vehicle and brake checking him.
Both vehicles pulled over, and a man got out of the Durango and approached Abdulla, wearing a “Security” shirt and brandishing a silver badge. Abdulla also got out of his vehicle and identified himself.
“At first it was an ‘Oh shoot’ moment, and then it was almost him wanting to smooth it over like ‘I’m just like you,’” says Abdulla, who detained the man until Brighton police arrived. They found weapons and an open container of alcohol in his vehicle.
Ortiz was booked on September 3 on charges including impersonating a peace officer. Police say that if you find yourself in a similar situation, don’t pull over or pull down your window. Instead, turn on your hazards and drive at a safe speed while calling 911 to confirm if the person pulling you over is a police officer. Mind you, that might not always keep you safe, even if it is a cop.