A man posing as an officer is assaulting sex workers in Santa Ana, police say


A man posing as an undercover officer has been violently sexually assaulting prostitutes in Santa Ana since August, police announced Friday.

At least one sexual assault occurred in August and two other attacks occurred in January along Harbor Boulevard in Santa Ana, said Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, spokesman for the Santa Ana Police Department. The victims were sex workers, who often travel along Harbor Boulevard from Anaheim to Costa Mesa.

Authorities fear there could be more victims, and are asking for the public’s help in identifying the man.


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“Prostitutes don’t often report crime because of their fears of getting caught by law enforcement,” Bertagna said. “They don’t want to draw more attention to themselves.”

In each of the violent attacks, the man posed as an undercover officer, he said.

Police said the man approached the women on Harbor Boulevard, and would then start talking to them and eventually force them into his car.

From there, police said the man drove the women to a remote area and sexually assaulted them.

To convince the women he was an officer, the man carried a police scanner on him or in his car, Bertagna said. Investigators are concerned that the man’s actions could become more brazen and violent, he said.

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The suspect is described as a white male in his mid-40s who is 5 feet 7 inches tall to 6 feet tall and has blonde or gray hair with blue eyes. His vehicle was described as a new blue, four-door Nissan or an older black two-door Subaru or similar looking hatchback.

Anyone with details about the man is urged to call Det. Cpl. Javier Aceves at (714) 245-8542 or Orange County Crime Stoppers at (855) 847-6227.


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