Police vest, loaded gun and a car with a light bar land Huntington Beach woman in jail

Michelle Hughes was arrested Nov. 1 on suspicion of impersonating a police officer.
(Costa Mesa Police Department)

A Huntington Beach woman went to great lengths to make herself look like a police officer, including wearing a tactical vest, driving a car with a light bar and carrying a loaded gun, according to the Costa Mesa Police Department.

Michelle Brianna Hughes, 30, was stopped near Harbor Boulevard and Merrimac Way in Costa Mesa on Nov. 1 during a routine traffic stop. Police said she identified herself as a deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Her Chevrolet Impala was equipped exempt California license plates, the kind found on law enforcement vehicles, as well as police lights, but officers quickly determined Hughes was not employed with any law enforcement agency, said Costa Mesa police spokeswoman Roxi Fyad.

Michelle Hughes was found with law enforcement uniforms, police say
Michelle Hughes was carrying a loaded handgun, a taser, a high-capacity magazine and law enforcement uniforms, police say.
(Costa Mesa Police Department)

When Hughes was stopped, she was wearing a tactical vest with the word “police” in large yellow letters and carrying several weapons, including a taser and an unregistered loaded handgun, Fyad said. She also wore a utility belt that carried handcuffs, a fake law enforcement badge and a high-capacity magazine for a gun.


In her car, police found uniforms from law enforcement agencies and additional government-exempt license plates, authorities said.

Hughes was arrested on suspicion of carrying an unregistered loaded firearm, being in possession of a high-capacity magazine and impersonating an officer. She was later released after posting $41,000 bond, police said.

Detectives are now looking for members of the public who may have been stopped by Hughes while she was impersonating an officer. Anyone with information is asked to contact Costa Mesa detectives at (714) 754-5097.

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