Police warn Mississippi drivers of suspected fake cop as they hunt for killer in highway murders

Mississippi police hunting for a suspected fake cop they believe may be responsible for two murders are looking into a woman’s claim she was stopped last month by a phony police officer while authorities warn motorists to beware of anyone trying to pull them over.

Authorities with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said they believe two shootings along a remote stretch of highway are related and that the killings may be the work of someone posing as law enforcement.

The revelation has since terrified Mississippi drivers, who are being urged to pull over only if they are being followed by a marked police car and to call 911 if they become suspicious.

Thomas Schlender, 74, of Raymond, Neb., was found shot dead in his car on Interstate 55 in nearby Panola County on May 8. Three days later, Lori Anne Carswell, 48, of Hernando, was found dead near her car on Mississippi Highway 713 in Tunica County.

Authorities announced this week that they believe Schlender and Carswell are victims of the same killer or killers. The two were shot after they pulled over on the highway, but neither vehicle appeared to have mechanical problems.

"There are a lot of similarities, namely the fact that the shootings occurred on the side of the road," Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain told FoxNews.com.

Police are investigating a number of leads in the case, including a woman's claim that she was pulled over in Tate County last month by someone posing as a police officer. Tate County is located between Panola and Tunica counties, where the other two murders took place.

The woman told authorities that she was being tailed by a car with a "white flashing light on the dashboard," Tate County Sheriff Brad Lance told Fox affiliate WHBQ-TV.

When the woman pulled over on the side of the highway, a man, who appeared disheveled, got out of his car and told her she was speeding, according to authorities.

"She just did not feel comfortable, she did not roll the window down, she cracked it to talk to him," Lance said.

The man then asked for her driver's license, which she told him was in her purse inside the trunk. When she refused to get out of the vehicle to retrieve the bag, the man became "agitated" and "hit the side of her car," telling her "just go on," Lance said.

The woman was unable to see the man's license plate number, but told police that he was driving a gold sedan. She said he appeared to be in his 40s and was seen wearing an untucked plaid shirt and tan pants. He also had sunglasses on, she said.

"In light of these events, we re-interviewed her, made other agencies aware of what we had happen," said Lance.

FoxNews.com's Cristina Corbin contributed to this report.

Click for more from MyFoxMemphis.com