14-year-old Calif. boy posed as cop, attempted to investigate nonexistent crimes, police say


A 14-year-old boy in Southern California, not yet old enough to drive, has been arrested and booked after dressing up in a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department uniform and driving around, occasionally attempting to investigate nonexistent crimes, police say.

The minor, who was not identified, took his great-grandfather’s car, a white Ford Explorer, and outfitted it with red and blue emergency flashing lights behind the windshield. The car had had its license plate removed.

But his cover was soon blown on March 5 after he pulled into a driveway in Victorville and told the house’s occupants that he was there to investigate a domestic disturbance, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.

The owner of the home told him that there was no problem there, and closed the door. The teen then tried to enter, but the door had been locked. The homeowner, apparently suspicious, then followed the teen to the driveway before words were briefly exchanged and the teen left. The Victorville resident then called the police to report what had happened.

A teenager not yet old enough to drive legally posed as a police officer in early March. Photo: San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department

As it turned out, that wasn’t the boy’s only encounter that night. Police discovered that not only had he fabricated another domestic disturbance claim as reasoning to visit another house, but he also “initiated a traffic stop” on a woman driving a red vehicle. In that instance he issued the woman “a warning and let her go.” That stop was caught on a homeowner’s driveway camera.

The following day, Sergeant J. Monroe saw and pulled over a car he believed was a match for the white Explorer. When it was confirmed, the 14-year-old boy was detained and his house was searched, revealing that the teen had been collecting police equipment, including simulation firearms, ballistic vests, counterfeit money, and uniforms.

The boy was arrested and booked at High Desert Juvenile Detention Center, but local police are seeking more information.

Alyssa Pereira is an SFGATE staff writer. Email her at apereira@sfchronicle.com or find her on Twitter at @alyspereira.



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