Police: Know the warning signs of police impersonators - KMOV.com

Police: Know the warning signs of police impersonators

(KMOV) -- News 4 has learned of two disturbing cases of men pretending to be police officers to get away with crime.

In one case, police say a man posed as a cop and raped a woman.  In the second incident, police say a man used an old, unmarked police vehicle to disguise drug deals.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police say Andrey Levkovsky, 45, of the 10600 block of Geanlee Drive in St. Louis County, raped a woman while pretending to be a police officer last Thursday.  The victim told detectives that Levkovsky flashed a badge and handcuffed her.  According to court records, Levkovsky then pulled the woman behind a building on Gustine Avenue in South St. Louis, wrapped a piece of twine around her neck and raped her while she was handcuffed.  Detectives report that when the victim reported the rape, she had visible bruises on her wrists and ligature marks on her neck.

Police say police impersonators are rare, but that you should know the warning signs.

"If an officer doesn't tell you what he's pulling you over for or just simply asks you to get out of the car, that's a cue that's something is wrong," St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Dan Isom said.

Police gear is not illegal to own, but it is illegal to use. On Saturday Pine Lawn police pulled over a car that looked nearly identical to one of their own unmarked patrol cars.  The old Crown Vic was a retired police car, driven by a man police suspect was impersonating officers to shake down drug dealers.  Lab results are pending for the suspected heroin police recovered inside the car.

"We do know that they have these cars to drive around with illegal drugs or contraband and hope not to get stopped by law enforcement," Pine Lawn Police Chief Rickey Collins said.

Chief Collins says it can be hard for police to catch a phony unless they have probable cause to pull them over.

Even the real unmarked police cars are outfitted with emergency lights, and if you get pulled over by an undercover officer driving one, both police chiefs say to trust your instincts.

Chief Isom says if you get pulled over, you can put your flashers on, lock your door and drive to a well-lit area with plenty of people around.  He says it's also OK to ask to see the officer's badge, ask for a marked patrol car to come, and even ask the officer if you can call dispatch yourself to verify his or her identity.

"If you feel uncomfortable, actually challenging that person and asking for more information and asking for identification is really going to make them a little apprehensive," Chief Isom said.  "They may break off the encounter and leave."

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