(KMOV.com) – Law enforcement officers are warning residents to beware of people impersonating police officers.
“It’s a huge concern,” said St. Clair County Sheriff Rick Watson. Sherriff Watson says last month, Michael Bullion met a woman over the internet and eventually met up with her near a street in East St. Louis.
But Watson says Bullion told woman he was an undercover deputy with the sheriff’s office.
“He was trying to use our good name to gain his trust with her and I am not going to put up with that,” he said.
The victim escaped and Bullion was arrested.
But Watson says he fully expects someone else to try the same stunt.
“What could be scarier than that, a police officer is someone you want to go to and trust, so that’s really scary someone would do that,” said Judy Waletz, a St. Clair County resident.
“If they were unmarked vehicle, plain clothes, I would be weary as well,” said Claire D’Angelo, another woman who’s concerned about the crime.
That’s why Sheriff Watson says even if an officer is undercover you can always ask to see identification.
“Individuals need to be more careful about who they are dealing with and who they trust. Even if it’s a police officer,” the Sheriff said.
Bullion is in the St. Clair County jail, and could get up to five years in prison for impersonating a police officer.