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BETHLEHEM — The Bethlehem Police Department has received “lots of tips from the public” after sending out a statement on Wednesday, Jan. 9 that it is investigating a report of a possible local police impostor, according to BPD Cmdr. Adam Hornick.
The police had first received a report that a motorist was pulled over by a black Chevrolet sedan on Route 9W near Church Road in Selkirk on Friday, Jan. 4 at around 9 p.m. The black vehicle had a red-and-blue flashing dash light and displayed no front license plate. The motorist was reportedly stopped as the alleged police officer believed he had a malfunctioning tail light; although after the two examined, it was still working properly.
The suspect is described as a white male who appears to be between 25 to 30 years old, has a thin build and a darker complexion, according to the report.
Hornick said that there is no camera footage available of the incident at this time since it took place in a remote area where there are no nearby houses or businesses.
“We’ve had instances in the past like this and it’s not common but we see it time to time,” he said. “Getting those dash lights is easy because they can be bought on sites like Amazon. It’s not illegal to sell them but it’s illegal to use them.”
He clarified that a vehicle does not need to be marked — like a police car or an ambulance — in order to legally use such lights and pull over motorists in the state.
For now, Bethlehem police are reminding residents that:
- Officers in unmarked vehicles are trained to properly display identifying credentials to verify their identity
- Officers in unmarked vehicles usually ask for a marked police vehicle to also arrive on the scene after a traffic stop
- If a motorist is hesitant to yield to an unmarked vehicle that is trying to pull them over, the motorist is advised to stop in a well-lit, populated area if possible, and call the police from their cellphone simultaneously.
Anyone with information regarding the possible police impostor can contact Bethlehem police at 518-439-9973 or leave an anonymous tip at Capital Region Crime Stoppers at www.capitalregioncrimestoppers.com.