A 51-year-old man was charged Wednesday with posing as a police officer, threatening three women with a handgun and sexually assaulting them, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s officials said.
William Hernandez was taken into custody Monday during a traffic stop in Big Bear, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Hernandez is being held on $1 million bail.
“This doesn’t happen, and when it does it’s scary and it’s so egregious,” Det. James Marshall said.
Hernandez faces nine felony rape-related counts as well as several charges for dissuading a witness from reporting the assaults that occurred in February and March, according to San Bernardino County Superior Court records.
Investigators believe Hernandez might have assaulted more women, who haven’t reported the attacks to police.
Hernandez has no ties to law enforcement and never displayed a badge or identification when he told the victims he was a police officer, Marshall said.
The victims told detectives they had no reason to believe Hernandez was not an officer because he displayed a handgun, Marshall said.
“They were not contesting it because they were scared,” he said.
According to sheriff’s officials, Hernandez identified himself as a police officer on Feb. 18 when he approached a woman, then threatened her with a handgun and sexually assaulted her for several hours at a motel in Rancho Cucamonga.
Authorities said the second assault occurred in Victorville, when Hernandez again identified himself as a police officer to another woman before threatening her with a handgun and sexually assaulting her. The second victim called a third woman by phone during the attack and Hernandez ordered the second victim to direct the other woman to come to their location, officials said.
Once she arrived, Hernandez threatened the third victim with a gun and sexually assaulted her, threatening to arrest the women if they did not maintain contact with him, authorities said.
“He made sure some of the victims knew who he was,” Marshall said.
Hernandez probably planned and organized the attacks, the detective said, adding that “he’s got a way of doing this.” Investigators found evidence at his home in Big Bear connecting him to the attacks, authorities said.
Forensic evidence recovered during the investigation is being analyzed, but detectives believe it could lead to the identification of additional victims, Marshall said.
Detectives are working the streets to find other victims, he said.
Anyone with information about Hernandez is urged to call Rancho Cucamonga Police Department at (909) 477-2800 or the Victorville Police Department at (760) 241-2275. To remain anonymous, call We-Tip at (800) 782-7463 or leave information on the We-Tip website.
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