Two Cape Coral teens were charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer after the youths reportedly attempted to use their high beams and red and blue flashing lights from a smartphone to pull over a driver in north Cape Coral Thursday night.
Cape Coral Police were dispatched shortly after 9 p.m. to a report of a vehicle attempting to stop another vehicle by impersonating a police officer. Officers responded to the area of Chiquita Boulevard N. near Tropicana Boulevard W. as the caller, who was on the line with CCPD dispatch, was providing updated information while the event was ongoing, officials said.
The caller, Michael Quintana, told dispatch that a vehicle was behind him flashing its high beams and flashing a red/blue light across the front windshield and that the incident began as he was southbound on Chiquita from Kismet Boulevard.
Quintana said he began to slow because he thought he was being stopped by an unmarked police car but as the vehicle behind him got closer, he realized that it was a Nissan Altima. Quintana told officials that he recognized the make of the vehicle because he owns one. He was unsure if it was a police vehicle so he called 9-11. Quintana also said that as the Nissan passed him on his left that the red/blue lights went from the windshield to the window of the passenger side front.
Quintana was able to provide a license plate number to the operator.
Responding officers say they saw the suspect vehicle make a moving violation and initiated a traffic stop.
The investigation revealed that the driver, identified as Angel Torres Jr., 17, of of 2731 N.W. 3rd St., and the front seat passenger, identified as Christian Jose Iturbe, 16, of 612 Wilmington Parkway, used a combination of flashing the car's high beams and a Youtube video of flashing red and blue lights on Iturbe's cell phone, police said.
Each was charged with impersonating a law enforcement officer, officials said.
"While this particular case looks to be a criminally stupid prank, cases like this can be scary and potentially very dangerous," said CCDP spokesperson Det. Sgt. Dana Coston in a prepared statement. "In this situation, the victim was suspicious that the 'police car' was real and did exactly the right thing- called 9-11. Impersonators can have dangerous motives for trying to stop members of the public, and impersonators like this shake public confidence and make people second guess real police officers conducting legitimate law enforcement duties."
Source: Cape Coral Police Department