Blue light bandit victim: 'I was just robbed at gunpoint'
Johnston County sheriff's officials released a 911 call Thursday from a fourth person who was robbed by someone impersonating a police officer in recent weeks.
"I was just robbed at gunpoint," said Bryan Promish, 26, who told the dispatcher he was stopped on U.S. Highway 70 West near Ranch Road just after midnight Thursday. "I got pulled over, went to reach in the glove box to get my registration, turned back, and this guy was like, 'Give me the money out of your wallet,' and he took that and my laptop."
Promish said the man was black, about 5 foot 7 to 5 foot 8 and about 160 pounds. He was wearing a tan or brown collared, button-down shirt and was driving a blue Ford Crown Victoria with a flashing blue light.
"I didn’t see where he pulled the gun from," Promish told the dispatcher. "Once the gun was in my face, all I was focused on was the gun and doing exactly what he asked me to do."
A 49-year-old Benson woman reported a similar 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.
The Johnston County Sheriff's Office is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information can call 919-989-9000. In the meantime, authorities 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," said Capt. Danny Johnson with the Johnston County Sheriff's Office. "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."