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Man, 21, charged in Sampson 'blue-light bandit' incidents

Posted October 18, 2013

Matthew Flores Arelleno, of 5546 Mount Olive Highway in Newtown Grove, is charged with two counts of operating a blue light.
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— A 21-year-old Sampson County man was charged Thursday in connection with two "blue-light bandit" incidents reported on Monday. 

Matthew Flores Arelleno, of 5546 Mount Olive Highway in Newtown Grove, is charged with two counts of operating a blue light. 

According to investigators, Arelleno tried to pull two women over on Lassiter Road Monday night by using a windshield-mounted strobe light. Neither woman stopped because they suspected the vehicle wasn't a law enforcement patrol car, and when they pulled into nearby driveways, the suspicious vehicle didn't stop.

Arelleno surrendered to authorities Thursday, and investigators found two lights mounted near the top of his vehicle's windshield. 

Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton reminded the public Friday to use caution if they suspect someone is impersonating an officer. 

"You can call 911 to check whether a deputy or police officer is involved in a traffic stop," Thornton said in a statement. "Citizens who are suspicious of whether or not a vehicle is a legitimate law enforcement vehicle should turn on their hazard lights, slow down below the speed limit and proceed to a well-lit and populated area before stopping."

Arelleno was in the Sampson County jail Friday under a $4,000 bond. He is scheduled to make a first court appearance on Oct. 25.

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  • 678devilish Oct 18, 2013

    with two "blue-light bandit"

    People be more than alert to these blue light bandit. Know a real cop from a false one with no good intent.

  • nonemeant Oct 18, 2013

    Book 'em, Danno.

  • miseem Oct 18, 2013

    Hope he gets a lot more than a slap on the wrist for this. Actions like this open the door for carjackings, robberies, rapes, murders and cause problems for legitimate law enforcement actions that protect the public. This in no way should be considered a prank or joke.

  • killing_me_softly Oct 18, 2013

    Who foolish person pulls into a driveway when they are being followed by someone that they don't know?

  • dbop90 Oct 18, 2013

    Turned him self in? Sounds like someone else was going to turn him in otherwise.....

  • scubagirl2 Oct 18, 2013

    good work, glad he had the good sense to turn himself in.