ATLANTA — An urgent manhunt is underway across metro Atlanta for a police impersonator who has already sexually assaulted two women.
Police told Channel 2 investigative reporter Aaron Diamant that early on, investigators thought they had a very solid lead but it didn't pan out as they hoped.
Now Atlanta and Cobb County police are asking for the public's help in their full-court press to find the dangerous impersonator.
“I really can’t state strong enough how seriously law enforcement takes this case,” Maj. Michael O’Connor, with the Atlanta Police Department, said. “The biggest concern we have right now is that this person looked enough like a police officer and two cases we believe are similar enough to think that it’s potentially the same suspect, between us and Cobb, that two people have stopped for him.”
The first attack happened along Nash Road in northwest Atlanta and the other took place a few hours later on Terrell Mill Road in east Cobb County early Friday morning. In both cases, women said they were sexually assaulted after bogus traffic stops.
“You have to understand that this really does strike at the core of every police officer across the country when we have an incident like this take place,” Capt. Dan Ferrell, with the Cobb County Police Department, said.
Both women described the imposter as a white man in his 30s, around 6 feet tall, with short dark hair and wearing police-like clothing, including a vest with a star and a police duty belt.
Atlanta police explained why both agencies delayed alerting the public.
“We had what we believed at the time initially was an extremely viable lead, so we ran that lead to the ground before we release any information to the public. That lead hasn’t turned out in the way that we hoped that it would,” O’Connor told Diamant.
Both agencies now scouring video from surveillance cameras in the area, working together to generate new leads.
“Sometimes the smallest piece of information that one agency might have is going to be a critical piece of evidence to the other agency to actually break the case open,” Ferrell said.
For drivers, especially women traveling alone, who feel uncertain if the cop pulling them over is a real cop, investigators said to turn on your hazards lights, stop in a well-lit area, and call 911.
The operator can confirm if there is an ongoing traffic stop.
Atlanta police told Diamant that one of the victims should be well enough to meet with a sketch artist Wednesday.
Cox Media Group