UPDATE: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Police across Kansas are asking for help identifying a man they say may be trying to rip off businesses across the state.
The man is described as a person of interest in several forgeries and attempted forgeries and is allegedly pretending to be a law enforcement officer in order to convince businesses to cash fake checks.
He showed up most recently Monday in Belle Plaine. Nobody in the Sumner County town bought his story, though.
Belle Plaine Chief of Police Gordon Fell said officers were just minutes from catching the man. Fell said the man visited two businesses in town, said he worked in law enforcement and needed to cash a check. Fell is worried the same man is telling that story to rural businesses across the state.
"We trust the people we work for and work with and he's using that to his advantage," Fell said.
However, employees at a grocery store and a convenience store in Belle Plaine did not believe the story the man gave them. When he said he was a sheriff's deputy from Adams County, Kansas, red flags went up right away.
"The county doesn't exist," Fell said. "The city and ZIP code produced on the check were also fraudulent."
As soon as the department posted a surveillance photo of the man on its Facebook page, Chief Fell began hearing from other Kansas law enforcement agencies who had similar stories.
"He's presenting himself as a law enforcement officer, much of whom many trust, and using that as an attempt to pass off a fraudulent check," Fell said.
The police chief cautioned that is something real law enforcement officers will never do.
"As an ethical thing, we're not going to go into a local business and use our credentials to our advantage to cash a check," he said.
If there's ever a question about someone's law enforcement credentials, Fell said, take the time to check them out.
"Ask for those credentials," he said. "Take possession of them, look at them, examine them. When in doubt, ask them for a work phone number. Call somebody."
Fell said he hopes to gain possession of and release clearer images of the man who tried to cash the fake check. He said anybody who recognizes the man -- or anybody who notices red flags like the employees of the Belle Plaine businesses did -- should call their local law enforcement agency immediately.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
The Belle Plaine Police Department is asking for the public's help in locating a man wanted for impersonating a police officer and forgery.
The man in the surveillance photo is a person of interest in several forgery cases and two cases of impersonating an officer in Belle Plaine.
In those cases, the man presented a badge and identified himself as an Adams County sheriff's deputy, while trying to cash a forged check. He tried this at two businesses.
The man was driving a dark-colored SUV, but more specific information was unavailable.
Anyone with information on this person's identity is asked to call the Belle Plaine Police Department at (620) 488-2787.