Alhambra man arrested for allegedly impersonating a police officer
A man was arrested in Alhambra on suspicion of impersonating a police officer and making a traffic stop, police said Saturday.
Steven Alan Pritz, 37, of Alhambra was taken into custody after a police officer saw him flash red-and-blue lights at a Volkswagen about 11 a.m. Friday and make a traffic stop.
The officer drove closer to assist on the stop north of Alhambra Golf Course, near Mission Road and Hidalgo Avenue.
But when the officer made eye contact with him, Pritz, wearing plain clothes, abruptly stopped what he was doing, got into his black Ford Crown Victoria and attempted to flee, according to Alhambra Sgt. Joe Flannagan.
The officer pursued Pritz and found him to be in possession of a police patch and emergency lights that can be placed on a vehicle’s windshield.
A search of Pritz’s home yielded handcuffs, gloves and boots, equipment “that would give the impression that the person was a police officer,” Flannagan said.
Pritz was later implicated in another incident involving an alleged police impersonator in Alhambra in February.
In that case, the impersonator pulled over a car and told the motorist that he was upset at the victim’s driving pattern, flashed a police patch, yelled at the driver and threatened to impound the vehicle.
The victim from the February incident identified Pritz as the suspect, police said.
Pritz was booked on suspicion of impersonating a police officer and attempting to detain someone unlawfully.
He was released Friday night on $50,000 bail and is scheduled to face a judge Tuesday.
Police have been unable to talk with the driver of the Volkswagen allegedly pulled over by Pritz on Friday. Flannagan asked for that driver to contact Alhambra police at (626) 570-5168.
People who suspect they have been a victim of a police impersonator should call their local police department to file a report, Flannagan said.
He added that if a driver suspects that a person making a traffic stop is not a legitimate police officer, the driver should ask to see a badge and identification. If that person hesitates, the driver should call 911 from a cellphone and ask for a marked black-and-white police vehicle to come to the scene.
A legitimate plainclothes police officer should understand and wait for backup. “If it’s phony, they’re going to flee,” Flannagan said.
An alternative is to drive to the nearest police station, Flannagan said.