Alert: 'Blue light bandit' operating in eastern North Carolina

(file photo)

The Plymouth Police Department in eastern North Carolina is warning folks to watch out for a 'blue light bandit' after a woman reported that she was stopped Tuesday morning by an armed fake cop. 

The vehicle, an older white model car, possibly a Ford Taurus, activated blue lights on its dash on U.S. 64, around 3:45 a.m. Tuesday, police said. 

The woman reported that she pulled onto Monroe Street from U.S. 64 and a tall white man got out of the vehicle, with a gun at his side, and approached her window. The phony police officer reportedly started asking questions about a person who lived in her house and said he had been watching her home. 

The man is described as being bald with a short red beard and was last seen wearing all brown clothing. 

The woman reported to Plymouth Police that when she asked for identification and to see his badge, the man took off. 

PPD is reminding folks of these safety tips if they're stopped by an unmarked vehicle flashing blue lights: 

  • If you are in a dark area and do not feel safe, turn on your hazard lights, and call 911 on your cell phone and confirm that there is an actual officer attempting to stop you.
  • If you don't have a cell phone, slow down, turn on your hazard lights and stop at the first well-lit area.
  • All PPD officers are REQUIRED to display their badge during enforcement actions and identify themselves by name and department. No real officer will have a problem providing reasonable identifications upon request.
  • It is completely permissible to record the traffic stop, as long as it does not stop you from complying with the officer's instructions. All PPD officers wear bodycams that record their actions.
  • If there is a question in your mind that the person that has stopped you is not a law enforcement officer, ask for another officer to respond.
  • Take note of things that may help to identify the person, such as the description of the car, description of the person, did the person display a badge? What did it look like? What did the person say?

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"If you are stopped by an unmarked car, the person that gets out should be immediately identifiable as a police officer," Plymouth Police said. 

Authorities said to call 911 and report anything that looks suspicious.