After a rash of robberies by police impersonators, Houston law enforcement is asking citizens to keep a watchful eye on how officers are dressed.
Tuesday marked the third incident in recent weeks, when three men posing as police officers forced their way into a home near I-45 and Griggs. After pistol-whipping a young couple and threatening to take a their baby, the trio made off with credit cards and the family's SUV.
In early November, a man impersonating an Houston police officer crow-barred his way into a west side apartment only to confront the resident. The victim suffered a minor gunshot wound as the two struggled for the suspect's gun. Less than a week later, another bogus cop robbed a small recycling business in north Houston, making off with cash and the owner's truck.
Houston police encoura ge those approached by officers to look for badges and proper patrol vehicles.
Suspects in all three cases remain at large. In the meantime, Houston police encourage those approached by officers to look for badges and proper patrol vehicles.
"Stuff like this has been happening all over," says Jacqueline Orellana of Central Police Supply, located at the east end of Washington Avenue. "A lot of people have come in recently saying that their car have been broken into. It's really scary."
While it distributes officially-branded items to the Houston Police Department and the Harris County Sheriff's Office, the store maintains an array of outdoor and tactical gear popular with civilians — from footwear to a truly impressive selection of flashlights.
To keep items like badges, uniforms, handcuffs and batons in the hands of law enforcement, Orellana says Central Police Supply has a strict photo ID policy for all police officers.
"It's not against the law to buy or sell any of these items. But, as a business, we do our due diligence to make sure they get to the right people."
Investigators urge anyone with information about the police impersonation cases to call Crime Stoppers at 713-222-TIPS. All tipsters remain anonymous.