VANCOUVER, Wash. – Vancouver police are looking for a man who allegedly pretended to be a police officer and tried to kidnap a woman by putting her in handcuffs.
The incident occurred on Sunday in Vancouver near Southeast 19th Street and Maxon Road.
Vancouver Police spokeswoman Kim Kapp said the victim was being driven by a man to an in-person meeting with another man she met on social media.
When the pair arrived near the intersection, they saw a vehicle with flashing lights approach them from behind. They stopped, and a man wearing what looked like a police uniform walked up to their car, pulled the woman out, put her in handcuffs and put her inside his vehicle, Kapp said.
The woman realized the man was not a cop, and was able to escape. She ran away, along with her companion, Kapp said. Neither of them suffered serious injuries.
"Anytime we have someone impersonating a police officer and committing a violent crime it’s certainly concerning to us and the public and we understand that," said Kapp, who added such cases are rare.
The suspect is a white man in his 30s who is 5-foot-8 with a medium build and no facial hair. It’s unclear if he was the man the woman intended to meet.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Vancouver Police Tip Line at 360-487-7399.
Also, if you are ever unsure of the legitimacy of an officer when you are being pulled over, or you can't tell due to your surroundings, Kapp said it's reasonable to call 911 to check.
"Let the dispatcher know, 'hey, looks like I’m being pulled over by the police can you let me know if that’s a real police officer and let the officer know I’m going to pull to a safer place'—better lighting, more people, said Kapp.
You can also ask for identification from an officer face to face.
Kapp also urged caution in arranging in-person meetings based on social media connections. If you do it is recommended you do so in a well lit, populated place.