• 19°

2 separate incidents involving a police impersonator reported near Ellendale

The Freeborn County Sheriff’s Office is asking the public to be on alert after two separate incidents involving a possible police impersonator were reported over the weekend near Ellendale.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Freeborn County deputies assisted the Steele County Sheriff’s Office and the Minnesota State Patrol with incidents late Saturday and early Sunday.

The first incident was off of Interstate 35 near Ellendale. The victim was reportedly parked in a parking lot and a vehicle described as an older, dirty Dodge Durango with loud exhaust pulled up to him.

The victim described the male in the Durango as being around 30 years old with dark hair and a medium build, weighing an estimated 220 to 230 pounds. He claimed to be an Iowa deputy.

The victim reportedly did not feel comfortable and called 911, but the suspect left the scene before law enforcement arrived.

The second incident occurred 90 minutes later on I-35 two miles south of Ellendale and was reported by a passerby. The witness reportedly saw the suspect vehicle with red, white and blue lights flashing in the front window and a car pulled over.

The Sheriff’s Office advised people that if they are being pulled over and become suspicious that they should gather a physical description of the suspect and the vehicle and identify the direction of travel when the suspect leaves. If possible, obtain photo evidence, but only if you feel you can safely acquire it without putting yourself at risk.

The Sheriff’s Office also advised the following:

• Drivers should put their hazard lights on and pull over in a public area that has people. At night, drive to a well-lit area.

• Dial 911 while looking for a safe place to stop. Be aware of your location so you can describe it to the dispatcher. Confirm with the dispatcher that a legitimate officer is stopping you.

• Lock your doors and only put your window down a few inches.

• Look for a uniform or other official sheriff or police markings on the person’s clothing.

• If still unsure, explain to the person that you are uneasy with the situation and ask to see the person’s official department photo identification and badge. Make note of the officer’s name and department.