The prospect of being stopped by what you think is a police officer, only to discover too late that it's actually a vicious criminal, helps explain why Larimer County Sheriff's Office took Heather Speicher's report about being sexually assaulted by a cop impersonator so seriously. And why the LCSO is throwing the book at her now that they've determined the claim was bogus.
Sheriffs' reps say Speicher told deputies that on the evening of January 5, she was sexually assaulted by a man who portrayed himself as a police officer -- and Larimer County officials took her very seriously, calling a news conference featuring Nick Christensen, the LCSO's executive officer, and Bob Coleman, its captain of investigations. According to the Fort Collins Coloradoan, Coleman called the alleged crime "a very bold act" because it hadn't taken place in a secluded area. The alleged location: West 32nd Street and Glade Road, a mile north of U.S. Highway 34 near a slew of homes.
A suspect sketch was also produced, as was a description -- a medium-size white man with graying hair, blue eyes and what the Coloradoan described as "dark, uniform-style clothing and a patch on one of the shoulders." He supposedly drove a police-style sedan with spotlights on either side.
The news conference generated plenty of publicity and lots of tips -- approximately forty of them, which sheriff's office personnel, including six investigators and two lab staffers, dutifully checked out over the course of four days.
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What eventually convinced them that Speicher made the whole thing up? They're not saying at this point, and no police report has been made public. We do know, however, is that Speicher, age 27, was arrested for attempting to influence a public official, a class-four felony, and jailed on a $2,500 bond. LCSO types also make it clear that they'll seek restitution for wasted law enforcement resources.
Oh yeah: Speicher's name wasn't used at the time of the original news conference -- but it's certainly being spread around now. Look below to see a full-size version of her mug shot.
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More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Have you been pulled over by the worst police impersonator ever?"