Tampa Police Detectives are working to identify and arrest the suspect who impersonated a police officer and then exposed himself to an adult female at the Ramada Inn, located at 1300 N West Shore Blvd, on the night of February 22.
The suspect, seen in the video, displayed a badge to the adult female victim before pulling her into a stairwell and exposing himself to her. The victim, who was not injured, pushed the suspect away before running to safety. Surveillance video shows the suspect coming out of a stairwell in the lobby of the hotel immediately after the incident before walking northbound onto the property next door.
The suspect was described as a white or Hispanic male, with a possible Cuban accent. He appears to be in his 30’s, 5’10-6’0”, has a muscular build with a belly, and some facial hair. He can be seen in the video wearing a long-sleeved pink shirt and blue jeans.
"Our investigators will work tirelessly to apprehend the suspect in this case before he can victimize anyone else,” said Interim Police Chief Lee Bercaw. "It is a felony to impersonate a police officer and we take any report of this happening very seriously. Our community can always ask a Tampa Police officer for identifying information and then call our non-emergency line to confirm the information provided if they believe the person may be impersonating an officer.”
While police impersonation is rare, some tips to keep you safe are as follows:
If you believe someone is impersonating a law enforcement officer:
- Ask for a name, a badge number, and to see their identification.
- Do not be afraid to advise the person you intend to call the dispatch center (non-emergency in Tampa 813.231.6130) to verify the officer's identity.
- Call 911 if you believe the person is posing as a Law Enforcement Officer.
- Trust your instincts.
If you suspect you are being pulled over by someone impersonating a police officer:
- Look for a safe place to pull over
- Signal your intent and slow down (activate your hazard lights)
- Call 911 to confirm it is an officer; be sure to provide the call-taker with your location, vehicle description, and license plate
- Keep your doors locked while the dispatcher checks the information you provided
- Ask the officer for their name and badge number and confirm the information with 911.