Sparta Police identify cop imposter

SPARTA, Mich. – Police have identified the man they say posed as an officer of the law Sunday.

Sparta Police told FOX 17 the man they circulated pictures of over the weekend on Facebook is a 48-year-old Sparta resident. They added he has no history with such offenses, but if charges are brought by the prosecutor’s office, they will be for impersonating a public officer.

In Michigan, that misdemeanor offense carries up to a one-year penalty behind bars.

FOX 17 also spoke to a local man who had a run-in with that suspect this weekend. Jacob Davis and his fiancé witnessed the suspect yelling at two young girls inside a car in the parking lot of the Sparta Family Fare on Sunday, accusing them of theft and claiming to be a police officer.

“I just walked up because it didn’t look right – something was fishy,” said Davis. “He was trying to get the girl’s attention at the door. He was banging on the window, he was on the phone saying he was a cop.”

When Davis pressed the man for identification, he could provide none. The man and the girls left the scene without providing any further information.

“It could’ve been my fiancé, it could’ve been my daughter, it could’ve been my friends daughter, it could’ve been my friend,” said Davis. “That’s too close to home now.”

Sparta Officer David Price, lead investigator on the case, provided some tips on avoiding a phony cop situation.

“If someone approaches you and identifies themselves as a police officer, the police officer should have some type of identification – either a badge or an ID card,” said Ofc. Price. “Also, feel free to ask what agency they work for and call that agency to verify that.”

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