A traffic stop Monday led to the discovery of a man armed with a handgun who appeared to be actively impersonating a police officer driving an unmarked patrol car.
A Niagara County Sheriff's deputy said he was parked at the intersection of Route 31 and Chew Road about 10:45 p.m. Monday when he noticed a black Ford Crown Victoria car with a prisoner cage on the rear windows tailgating a car in front of it. The deputy said he initially thought it was an unmarked patrol car trying to get the license plate of the car in front of it but ran a DMV check of the "police car's" license plates, which came back as a personal vehicle.
The deputy stopped the car and noticed it had two antennas on the rear of the vehicle and "deck" lights in the rear window — such as would be on an unmarked patrol car. Inside the car was an aftermarket center console with a Whelen light control and two police-type radios and a computer mount for an MDT (mobile data terminal.)
When questioned about the equipment, the driver became nervous, according to the report, but stated the vehicle had been given to him by his former employer, a security firm, and the equipment had been left inside.
The deputy said the man was evasive when questioned about the vehicle's lights and sirens, saying they were yellow warning lights and there was no siren but refusing to demonstrate for the deputy.
When asked if he had any weapons, the man replied he replied he was a full-time officer employed by an armored truck service and had a Glock 26 on his waist holster for which he had a valid permit. The deputy said he noticed the man's security guard ID was in a wallet attached to a neck lanyard with the badge secured to the front of the wallet, such as an undercover officer would wear. The man said he carried the badge that way in the event of an active shooter — so he could take out the shooter and be easily identified by responding officers.