published Friday, March 8th, 2013

Chattanooga police seek 2 men posing as officers in con game

Fraud detectives are seeking two men who impersonated police officers to steal money from an elderly man.

Officials said the thieves may have targeted the victim, an 84-year-old resident of Grove Street.

Chattanooga Police Department spokesman Nathan Hartwig said the con men knew the victim's name and appear to have done some research about him.

"The victim took one of the suspects to a local bank where he withdrew some of the cash from his account and gave it to the suspects and the suspects fled the scene with the cash," Hartwig said.

The two came to the man's home, displayed badges and said they were investigating a fraud complaint. They told the victim they needed him to withdraw cash that they could then deposit so as to trace.

"Just because someone knows your name doesn't mean they're legitimate police officers," Hartwig said.

Hartwig said that while police impersonations are not unheard of, they typically involve someone in a "security-type car" pulling people over.

"But since these guys actually approached the man, knew his name and actually had him go to a bank and take cash out, that's just a little bit more serious than any of the others," he said.

Hartwig said the police are trying to get any information from the public about the con men.

"We're just trying to make the public aware, and if anybody happens to know some inside information on who these guys are to give us a call," he said.

The Chattanooga Police Department described one of the men as being 60 to 70 years old, 5 feet, 11 inches tall and about 190 pounds, while the other was 40 to 50 years old and 6 feet tall.

Hartwig added that people shouldn't hesitate to call police if they think someone is impersonating an officer.

"If you have any questions of someone's authority, ask to see their police identification and you can also call your local law enforcement jurisdiction," Hartwig said.

"If an officer is at your residence, there should be some sort of record that they're out there. Our procedures are that we notify dispatch and they log it that we are at a residence and they can confirm it for you."

Anyone with information regarding the con men or the incident is asked to call the Chattanooga Police Department at 423-698-2525.

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