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Woman robbed at gunpoint during fake traffic stop

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Man posed as officer on Freedom's Way

By Ashley Sutter

Officials with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office are asking the public to be on alert after a woman was robbed at gunpoint Tuesday afternoon in a staged traffic stop.

Major Eric Hettinger said the incident occurred around 3:45 on Freedom's Way, just north of La Grange Road.

Hettinger said the victim stated she was stopped by a dark, navy blue Crown Victoria with blue lights in the grill.

"The gentleman commanded her to look forward and requested both her phone and her purse," with the Shelby County Sheriff's Office said, explaining she was held at gunpoint. "She complied by giving him the purse, but she lied about her cell phone."

Hettinger said she was able to get a good look at the subject and described him as a black male, approximately 5’8 with short hair shaved on side and a muscular build. The man was wearing what appeared to be a dark uniform and duty belt.

The case is currently under investigation and while there have been no arrests, the department said they are following up on leads.

"Acknowledge the officer is behind you by putting on your emergency flashers and slowing down to a reasonable speed. Look for a safe place to pull over," he said, noting if someone is uncomfortable, pull into a location such as a gas station that is well populated and has cameras.

Unmarked cars, he said, do not typically make traffic stops but they do occur on occasion. Hettinger said if someone is feeling apprehensive about a stop, they could call 9-1-1 to verify it is legitimate.

Hettinger called this is a public safety issue.

"We want the public to assist us by being vigilant, calling on anything they see suspicious, look out for each other," he said.

The victim was driving a silver Kia Forte and was stopped on the right side of the north bound lane of Freedom's Way. Following the stop, the man fled toward Eminence Pike.

Anyone who believes they witnessed this stop or has information that might be helpful in the investigation is encouraged to contact the sheriff’s office at 633-4324 or dispatch at 633-2323 after 4:30 p.m.