Woman pulled over, accosted by alleged officer impersonator

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ST. GEORGE — Police are looking for a man who allegedly pulled over a motorist in St. George Friday while wearing a gun and flashing a badge — a man police do not believe is a law enforcement officer.

At approximately 1:30 p.m., a man in a gray or black Dodge Charger reportedly pulled up behind Laura Battista, 22, of St. George, on Bluff Street at about 600 North. The man allegedly got out of his car and started yelling at Battista, stating he could have been a gang member and could have “lit up her car with bullets,” Battista said.

Battista said the man was wearing a gun in a holster and showed her what she thought was a police badge.

After yelling at her, the man got back into his vehicle and sped away, Battista said.

She contacted the St. George Police Department and reported the incident.

St. George Police Sgt. Sam Despain said the car did not have red and blue lights on it, but the fact that the man showed a badge alerted police that he may possibly be impersonating an officer.

“We believe the individual was not a police officer,” Despain said.

Battista described the man as being in his late 30s, about 6 feet tall, wearing a black polo shirt and khakis. He had a military-style haircut and his hair was dark, “almost black,” Battista said. He was wearing what Battista said looked like Oakley sunglasses, and his Dodge Charger had handicap license plates, state of issue unknown.

The man never identified himself as a police officer, Battista said, but the silver badge made her think he was an off-duty officer. The gun was a pistol, and Battista said it looked real.

Despain said the man has not been located yet, and no other incidents have been reported as of Friday afternoon. An “attempt to locate” bulletin was issued to officers, but nothing has been found as this report is published.

Anyone encountering someone they believe is impersonating an officer should call the St. George Police Department at 435-627-4300.

This report is based on preliminary information provided by law enforcement or other emergency responders and may not contain the full scope of findings.

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