Update: A trio of recent incidents involving police impersonators in the metro area prompted composite sketches from Aurora and Jefferson County, but not immediately from the Denver Police Department. Now, however, the DPD has issued its likeness, and while it doesn't look much like the others, the cops haven't ruled out the possibility that one person was responsible for each criminal act.
"There are similarities in body type," says DPD spokesman Sonny Jackson about the three cases. In Aurora, a faux cop reportedly pulled over a woman and raped her at roadside. In Jefferson County, a bogus officer is said to have stopped a female driver, but fled after she refused to leave her vehicle. And in Denver, a man with a police-light assembly on his Crown Vic drove off with a woman's license and vehicle registration.
"Facial things can seem different in sketches -- and people can disguise their faces," Jackson adds. "So we're working closely with other agencies in Aurora and Jeffco to determine if one person has been responsible" for all three matters, "or if there are other people out there doing the same thing. And even though the sketches look different, somebody might recognize one sketch versus another and lead us to a suspect."
Here's a larger look at the Denver Police sketch. Below, find our earlier coverage, which includes the Aurora and Jeffco composites.
Original item, 11:33 a.m. August 1: Three incidents involving police impersonators have taken place in the Denver metro area of late -- and while Aurora and Jefferson County have released suspect sketches (see them below), Denver has not yet done so. Why not? Denver Police Department spokesman Sonny Jackson says it's on the agenda -- and perhaps the results will help determine if the same man in responsible for each case.
The Aurora attack reportedly took place on August 21. A woman told police she was pulled over near Alameda and Havana by a man in what she described as a bogus police car. He then pulled her from the vehicle and raped her at roadside.
Here's the sketch of the man in that case:
The Jeffco incident took place on July 25 near Wadsworth and Bowles. According to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, the suspect, driving a black-and-white car with a red-and-blue light bar, pulled over a vehicle driven by a twenty-year old woman. The man stepped out of his vehicle and approached hers -- but when she refused his order to step outside, he began yelling at her. At that point, she grabbed her cell phone and said she was going to call her parents, prompting the man to race back to his car and take off.
The Jeffco suspect is described as a white male with short brown hair, brown eyes, a graying mustache and a substantial belly. He wore a black cap and a black shirt with "police" on the chest and "sheriff" on the left sleeve -- one indication that he was a phony. Here's that sketch:
And Denver? That one happened on July 29, when a man in a Crown Victoria with red-and-blue lights on the roof stopped a female driver on Park Avenue West near Globeville. Shortly thereafter, he asked for her driver's license and vehicle registration, then returned to the Crown Vic and drove away.
The victim in this instance described the man as a Hispanic in his early forties, around five-feet-six inches in height, with black spiky hair and a potbelly. He wore dirty blue jeans and a light blue uniform shirt with a ripped breast pocket.
This description seems closer to the one from Jeffco, but there's no mention of a mustache -- and obviously, the Aurora suspect's lip is hair free in that composite. Nonetheless, DPD spokesman Jackson says there have been no conclusions reached about whether the same person was responsible for each of these incidents. "We're still looking into that," he says.
Jackson adds that DPD investigators have seen the Aurora and Jeffco sketches, "and we're going to get with the victim in our case and hopefully put together a composite from her observations and go from there."
While the woman in the Denver case was not attacked, Jackson stresses that the DPD "remains greatly concerned, because you never know what a person's motivation is in this kind of incident."
He adds that anyone worried about whether an officer making a traffic stop is the genuine item should try to stop in a "well-lit, well-populated area. Don't speed, don't run off, don't break any traffic laws -- but try to pull slowly to a stop in a safer area." On top of that, he continues, "if you have a cell phone, call 911 to make sure dispatch has an officer in that area making a stop. 911 works everywhere; it's universal. And a real cop's not going to be upset with you for doing that."
Those with information about any of these cases is encouraged to phone Crimestoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867).
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Have you been pulled over by the worst police impersonator ever?"
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.