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Police warn of North Side impersonators

| Tuesday, June 17, 2008, 12:00 p.m.

Pittsburgh police are warning residents about two men who were spotted impersonating police officers in the North Side and then robbed at least one motorist.

Just after midnight last night two people called police and said they were driving on Spring Hill Avenue at Itin Street in Spring Garden when a dark green Ford Taurus pulled behind them. The driver began flashing the Taurus' headlights and drove beside the victim's car, police said. The driver of the Taurus identified himself as a Pittsburgh police officer and told the victims to pull to the side of the road.

The Taurus pulled in front of the victim's car and two white men got out and pointed semi-automatic handguns at the victims, who were told to get out of their car and put their hands on the hood. The suspects searched the victims, taking $40 from one and $200 from the other, police said. The suspects also removed the Ohio license plate from the victim's vehicle.

Neither victim could give police license plate information on the Taurus, police said. They said the suspects showed them round badges in their wallets. The Taurus driver is described as being about 30 years old, 5 feet 10 inches tall and 180 pounds with long black hair. The second suspect is also described as being about 30 years old and bald. He was about 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighed about 170 pounds, police said.

Police spokeswoman Diane Richard said unmarked city police cars have flashing red and blue lights and all on-duty officers -- plainclothes or uniform -- will have a badge visible around their neck or belt. If you doubt an officer is legitimate, either drive to a well-lit, populated area or call 911 and ask for a marked patrol car to be sent to your location, Richard said.

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