LAKE PARK, Minn. — Deputies are investigating at least two, possibly three, reports of somebody posing as an officer, making fake traffic stops in Becker, Clay and Otter Tail counties.
The first was reported north of Lake Park at about 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13. It then reportedly happened again five miles east of Hawley.
The man is described as being in his 20's, with a goatee, about 6 feet tall.
One of the women, who says she was pulled over by the fake officer, says she hopes her coming out with her story can help save somebody else in the same situation.
It was such a quick trip into town for the Lake Park woman that she went in her pajamas. She was just going to grab a few items for dinner for her family.
The wife and mother of three, who wants to remain anonymous to protect the privacy of her family, said she was on her way home down a rural dirt road when she was pulled over by a man impersonating an officer.
The woman says after she followed a white SUV for about a third of a mile, the driver turned on white and blue flashing lights in the rear window.
Thinking maybe she forgot to use her turn signal when pulling onto the road, she says she pulled over in front of the White Jeep Cherokee, thinking it was a police officer.
She says a man, who was calm and collected, approached her car, and she asked what she was being pulled over for.
She says this was his reply:
"No worries. Did you know ma'am your taillight is out? If you want to step out quick I can show you and help," he allegedly told her.
Confused, and to buy herself some time, she reached for her insurance card. It then dawned on her the man did not have a badge or flashlight. That's when she remembered something her dad had taught her — and what she learned in conceal and carry class. Ask for proof.
When she asked to see the officer's credentials, she said the man replied "yes", went back to his car and took off.
So did she.
"I put my vehicle in drive and flew home, thanking God my gut told me something isn't right."
Her only regret about the encounter is not getting the license plate of the White Jeep Cherokee.
"I didn't get him, but he also didn't get me," she said.
By sharing her story, she hopes it reminds women and kids to always be aware of their surroundings.
"Parents need to teach our children, young and old, to know your rights and how to protect yourself in many different situations," she added.
The woman does not think the man was stalking her from the store because he was in front of her.
She also wants it known she does not view herself as a victim, but a survivor, pointing out she outsmarted the "fake cop".