Benson, N.C. — A man posing as a police officer robbed a driver on Interstate 95 near Benson Thursday, marking the third time in several weeks this has happened to drivers in Johnston and Cumberland counties.
Chester Tart, 71, of Benson, told authorities he was driving south on I-95, near Interstate 40, when a man driving a dark blue or green Chevrolet car with a blue light on the dashboard pulled him over around 11 a.m.
The man approached Tart's vehicle, accused him of speeding and said he would not write a ticket if Tart paid him $200 in cash. Tart said he paid the man the money, drove away and called police when he got home.
Tart said the man was in his 30s, about 6 feet tall, was wearing a brown shirt and had a gun on his hip.
Authorities are offering up to a $1,000 reward for information.
Patrol Captain Danny Johnson of the Johnston County Sheriff's Office said drivers have options if they are worried about the authenticity of a police stop.
"Turn on your emergency flashers, and, if you're in question that this might be someone impersonating a law officer, you can call 911," Johnson said. "Give them your location and the description of the vehicle behind you the best you can, and also pull to a well-lit area or populated area if feasible."
People posing as police officers robbed two drivers in late March near Benson and in Fayetteville, but authorities said there was no indication the cases were connected. Tart said the man who robbed him was white. The suspects in the earlier cases were described as black men.
The first robbery happened on I-40 near Benson, where a driver said a man in a black Ford Crown Victoria with flashing blue lights and a gun on his hip pulled him over and stole his cash.
The next day, two men posing as officers robbed a Fayetteville woman driving home from work around 10:50 p.m.
Keionta Hinton, an assistant manager at Church’s Chicken, told police she was heading down Yadkin Road to deposit some money from the restaurant. A blue Crown Victoria with flashing blue lights on the dashboard pulled in behind her and stopped her on Santee Drive, she said.
Two men got out of the car, and one put a gun in her face and stole the restaurant's money, according to police.