On November 4, 2018, the Merced County Sheriff’s Office received a report of persons in a black or dark-colored Ford Crown Victoria type vehicle possibly impersonating a peace officer.
The driver reported that the suspicious vehicle turned on red and blue emergency lights in the area of Shaffer Rd and Walnut Ave. When the driver pulled over, four subjects exited the vehicle and approached the vehicle from all sides and attempted to get into the vehicle. The driver drove off and contacted the Sheriff’s Office.
The Merced County Sheriff’s Office received a second report of a possible person impersonating a peace officer. The reporting party described seeing a suspicious black and white SUV in the alleyway near the Dollar General store in Winton which may have had the words “Police” on it but was uncertain. The suspicious SUV turned on blue and red emergency lights on top of the vehicle when the reporting party was at the stop sign at Cottage Way and Walnut Ave. The reporting party made a right turn onto Walnut Ave and the suspicious SUV with emergency lights made a left turn on Walnut Avenue. The reporting party returned to their residence and contacted the Sheriff’s Office to report the circumstances.
The Merced County Sheriff’s Office STAR team is currently investigating whether or not these vehicles were official law enforcement vehicles and have located a vehicle matching the description of the first incident. The owner of that vehicle was questioned and arrested on charges unrelated to impersonating a peace officer at this time and are continuing to investigate the vehicle owner’s involvement in these incidents. No weapons were reported to be involved in either incident.
If you are stopped by law enforcement be sure to pull over in a well-lit area whenever possible. Do not get out of your vehicle, lock your doors, and roll your window down enough that you can communicate with the deputy or officer but they are unable to reach into your vehicle.
This is an active investigation and we ask if anyone has any information regarding these incidents to please contact the Merced County Sheriff’s Office at (209)385-7445. Your tip can remain anonymous. Photos\press release from Merced sheriffs department.