Benson, N.C. — The Johnston County Sheriff's Office said Thursday that investigators have received a fourth complaint about someone impersonating a police officer during traffic stops near Benson.
According to authorities, a young man was stopped on U.S. Highway 70 West near Ranch Road just after midnight and robbed of a laptop and money at gunpoint.
A 49-year-old Benson woman reported the third incident Tuesday morning, saying that a man driving a dark-colored Ford Crown Victoria with a flashing blue light pulled her over around 5:45 a.m. while she was on her way to work.
The man told her she was speeding, took her license and registration, walked back to his car and then returned, giving the documents back to her.
She described the man as black, standing about 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing 130 pounds and wearing a tan shirt.
That description was similar to a March 25 encounter on Interstate 40 near Benson, when someone driving a similar car pulled over a man and robbed him of $600.
In that case, however, the victim reported that the so-called officer had a gun.
Another stop happened around 11 a.m. on April 6 on Interstate 95 near the I-40 interchange, when a 71-year-old man says he was pulled over by a white man driving a blue or green Chevrolet with a blue light on the dashboard. He was robbed of $200.
Authorities, who are offering up to a $1,000 reward for information in the cases, say drivers have options if they are worried about the validity 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," Capt. Danny Johnson with the Johnston County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday. "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."