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Costa Mesa police seek help in investigation of H.B. woman suspected of impersonating police officer

Michelle Briana Hughes
Michelle Briana Hughes, 30, of Huntington Beach is pictured after her Nov. 1 arrest on suspicion of impersonating a police officer.
(Costa Mesa Police Department)

Police in Costa Mesa are looking for anyone who may have had a suspicious encounter with a woman they arrested last week on suspicion of impersonating a police officer, officials said Thursday.

Michelle Brianna Hughes, 30, of Huntington Beach was taken into custody the evening of Nov. 1, the Costa Mesa Police Department said in a statement.

Officers in the gang unit stopped a white four-door 2016 Chevrolet Impala equipped with a police-style light bar and “California exempt” license plates in the area of Harbor Boulevard and Merrimac Way, officials said.

The driver, whom police identified as Hughes, was wearing a tactical vest with a “Police” patch on the front, according to the statement. She also wore a duty belt complete with handcuffs, a fake law enforcement badge, a Taser and a loaded, unregistered handgun fitted with a high-capacity magazine.

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Hughes weapons
Costa Mesa police say they seized these items while arresting a Huntington Beach woman suspected of impersonating a police officer.
(Costa Mesa Police Department)

“Hughes identified herself to the arresting officers as a deputy for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department,” the statement said. “Hughes is not a law enforcement officer and was in possession of other police uniforms from other law enforcement agencies as well as other government exempt license plates.”

Hughes was booked on suspicion of impersonating a police officer, carrying a loaded and unregistered firearm and possession of a high-capacity magazine, officials said.

She was released from custody after posting bond, according to Orange County Superior Court records. Her occupation was listed in booking records as “armed guard.”

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Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Costa Mesa police at (714) 754-5097 or jsmith@costamesaca.gov.

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