A man impersonating a Chicago police officer appears to be targeting
Hispanics - possibly recent immigrants - as he shakes them down and
robs them, authorities said.
Police have put out a community alert for the man, who officials say
is suspected of having committed as many as 11 armed robberies since
June, including five so far this month alone, in neighborhoods
ranging from the North Side to the Southwest Side.
Some of the imposter's victims could be undocumented immigrants who
may be afraid of contacting the authorities, police said.
"I need to get the message out there to the Spanish-speaking
community the Chicago police are not the immigration service," police
Cmdr. Daniel Alvarado said at a news conference today to discuss the
The suspect, Alvarado said, "is preying primarily on immigrants who
speak Spanish and are not likely to file a complaint. We need their
help in coming forward with any information they have so we can get a
composite on this individual (and) perhaps identify him and bring him
Anyone with information is asked to contact Area 5 detectives at
The suspect has been described as driving a white Chevrolet Astro van
with a colored stripe, possibly red, yellow or brown, and with
temporary Illinois license plates, police said.
The man typically is driving around between noon and 7:30 p.m. when
he singles out people on foot and drives up to them, police said. He
allegedly carries a police-type radio and sometimes is armed with a
handgun or metal object.
The man identifies himself as a police officer and remains in his van
while he removes the victim's wallet and cash, police said.
Police described the impersonator as 25 to 30 years old, 5 feet 2
inches to 5 feet 9 inches tall, weighing 140 to 180 pounds and with
short black hair or with a bald or shaved head.
Alvarado noted a real police officer carries a badge - a five-point
star - and other official identification. If a person who is stopped
is suspicious of an officer's identity, he or she should ask to go to
a well-lighted area and have the officer call a supervisor, Alvarado
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WGN-Ch. 9 contributed to this story.