Police impostor on the loose
After four incidents of police impostors accosting women in Ross and McCandless, women must be more alert in the North Hills, advocates say.
North Hills Community Outreach will sponsor a public meeting on crime prevention next week because of the police impersonations and attacks on four women since Oct. 1. The attacks targeted women walking alone or near bus stops in McCandless, Ross, Shaler and Hampton.
"We have always been very safe in these neighborhoods," said Maripat Kwaczala, resource specialist of North Hills Community Outreach. "We have to be much more alert."
She said the impostors cause further feelings of isolation because they make it difficult for women to feel safe if they are stopped by police officers.
The outreach center's session on crime prevention will be from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at St. Paul United Methodist Church, 1965 Ferguson Road, Hampton Township.
Two police impersonation incidents happened in McCandless and two in Ross. Police from Allegheny County, Ross and McCandless are investigating whether there is any connection between the cases. They have not determined whether all four impersonations involve the same person.
Police gave these accounts of the impersonation incidents:
The man in the McCandless cases is described as white, in his early 30s and 5 feet 9. He has short brown hair and a muscular build and was wearing dark-colored sweatpants and sweatshirt.
Witnesses described the man involved in the Ross cases as white, 5 feet 8 to 5 feet 10 inches, wearing casual, dark-colored clothing and a dark cap. Ross police released a composite sketch of the man.
|Staying on guard|
Police officers will show their badges and department patches to people they stop for traffic or other minor offenses, according to Charles Seibert, president of the Pennsylvania Crime Prevention Association of Western Pennsylvania and a police sergeant in Richland Township.
He said some law enforcement agencies use unmarked cars, but only rarely. He said many police cars are equipped with lights and a siren not found on civilian cars.
Drivers who are stopped after dark should slow down, turn on their flashers and stop in a well-lighted area, Seibert said. He also said drivers should turn on their dome light when an officer is making a traffic stop.