published Thursday, March 7th, 2013

Chattanooga Police seek two for fraud scheme, impersonating an officer

Fraud detectives are seeking two men for impersonating police officers in order to steal money from an elderly man.

Officials believe the suspects may have targeted the victim, an 84-year-old resident of Grove Street.

Chattanooga Police Department spokesman Nathan Hartwig said the suspects knew the victim’s name and appear to have done some research about him.

“The victim took one of the suspects to a local bank where he withdrew some of the cash from his account and gave it to the suspects and the suspects fled the scene with the cash,” Hartwig said.

The two had appeared at the home of the resident, displayed badges, said they were investigating a fraud complaint and they needed the resident to withdraw cash that they could then deposit so as to trace.

Hartwig said the suspects did not harm the victim, only stole his money.

“Just because someone knows your name doesn’t mean they’re legitimate police officers,” he said

Hartwig said that while police impersonations are not unheard of, they typically involve someone in a “security type car” pulling people over.

“But since these guys actually approached the man, knew his name and actually had him go to a bank and take cash out, that’s just a little bit more serious than any of the others,” he said.

Hartwig said the police were trying to get any information from the public about the suspects.

“We’re just trying to make the public aware and if anybody happens to know some inside information on who these guys are to give us a call,” he said.

The Chattanooga Police Department described one of the men as being about 60 to 70 years old, 5 feet, 11 inches tall and about 190 pounds in weight while the other was about 40 to 50 years old and six feet tall.

Hartwig added that individuals shouldn’t hesitate to contact the Police Department if they felt they were being approached by someone impersonating an officer.

“If you have any questions of someone’s authority, ask to see their police identification and you can also call your local law enforcement jurisdiction,” Hartwig said.

“If an officer is at your residence, there should be some sort of record that they’re out there. Our procedures are that we notify dispatch and they log it that we are at a residence and they can confirm it for you.”

If you have any information regarding the suspects or the incident, please call the Chattanooga Police Department at 423-698-2525, officials said.

about Lindsay Burkholder...

Lindsay Burkholder is originally from Winston-Salem, N.C. She graduated from Covenant College in May 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. While at Covenant she spent time writing for and editing the news section of the school newspaper, The Bagpipe. Burkholder also attended the World Journalism Institute in New York City in 2011.

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