TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10)– The Tampa Police Department have arrested a Tampa man for impersonating a police officer on Saturday, July 16.

According to reports, Tampa Police responded to a report of a suspicious SUV with red and blue lights acting like a police officer in the area of New Tampa Blvd and Bruce B Downs Blvd on Saturday morning. Officers had previously been alerted by Florida Highway Patrol of a similar vehicle/incident where a firearm was taken by the impersonating officer on Interstate 75 earlier in the morning.

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A Tampa Police officer saw the suspect vehicle, a 2020 gray Range Rover, on Bruce B Downs. The suspect, later identified as John Inglis, 27, of Tampa; had activated flashing red and blue lights, pulled over the victims, approached their vehicle, and asked for their driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance.

Photo Credits: Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

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While holding the documents, Inglis looked at the officer who had just pulled up, returned the documents to the victim, and walked towards his vehicle where he was arrested before he could enter it.

During the investigation, it was discovered that Inglis had been issued an active Risk Protection Order (RPO). He was subsequently charged for violating the RPO as well as Impersonating a Police Officer, and his vehicle was seized. Inside inglis’ SUV was a gun that was consistent with the type of gun stolen during the incident being investigated by FHP.

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What can you do if you suspect the person puling you over is impersonating a police officer? While the chance of this occurring is rare, some tips to keep drivers safe are:

  • Look for a safe place to pull over
  • Signal your intent and slow down (activate your hazard lights)
  • Call 911 to confirm it is an officer; be sure to provide the call-taker with your location, vehicle description and license plate
  • Keep your doors locked while the dispatcher checks
  • Ask the officer for their name and badge number, and confirm the information with 911.