A teenager was arrested on Tuesday for pretending to be a sheriff's deputy who launched phony investigations and pulled people over in his Southern California neighborhood in an SUV fitted with flashing blue and red lights, officials said.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Office said in a news release they were alerted a day earlier when a homeowner in Victorville reported someone driving in an unmarked Ford Explorer wearing a sheriff's uniform with a gun holster came to the home and said he was investigating a domestic disturbance.
"The homeowner informed him there was no problem and they had not placed a call to the police," the sheriff's office said. "The suspect tried to open the door but the homeowner had locked it."
Police said the teenager then returned to the Explorer and left the area after an exchange with the homeowner, who followed him to the driveway.
Jasmine Jones, who lives home involved, told FOX 11 she didn't notice the boy's age at first, only that he was a police officer.
"I saw a police officer in dress code, that's what I saw, and that's what was really concerning," she said.
Detectives determined in the course of their investigation that the boy interacted with at least two other people while impersonating a deputy.
"The suspect again activated the emergency lights mounted in the vehicle, causing a white male, approximately 16-years old, to come out of his house," the sheriff's office said. "The suspect again claimed to be investigating a domestic disturbance call. When he was told, there was no disturbance, the suspect left."
On the same day, the teen also pulled a woman over and gave her a warning before letting her go, officials said.
Deputies later stopped the Ford Explorer and found the uniformed teen inside.
During a search of the 14-year-old's home, detectives found the uniform worn during the incident, in addition to a large amount of counterfeit money, fake guns, ballistic vests and other law enforcement related items.
"As a civilian, how the heck are we supposed to tell is he's real police or not?" Jones told FOX 11. "Other than the age, and he looks obvious, OK yeah but he could obviously not look like a cop and be a cop."
The SUV belonged to the teen's great-grandfather, according to the San Bernardino Sun newspaper. It wasn't clear if the boy lived with his great-grandfather or how he was able to access the vehicle.
The boy, who was on probation at the time of his arrest, was being held at a juvenile detention center east of Los Angeles, according to police.