MANSFIELD — A Mansfield man is scheduled for an initial appearance in court at 10 a.m. today on a charge of impersonating a police officer.
The Mansfield post of the Ohio Highway Patrol reported David M. Rogers, 28, of 1525 Lohr Road, was charged after pulling over a teen for speeding on Ohio 314 between Shelby and Ontario.
The incident occurred March 29. The charge is a first-degree misdemeanor. Rogers’ attorney, Cassandra Mayer, recently filed a not guilty plea on his behalf.
“The suspect was in a vehicle with flashing lights and stopped (a 17-year-old boy),” said patrol Sgt. Jeff Redden.
“He didn’t identify himself with any department, but looked like an officer, I guess. He said he was off-duty.
“Mr. Rogers made contact with this kid’s father (via phone) and said, ‘I stopped your son and I thought I’d let you know that I gave him a (verbal) warning.’ ”
Feeling suspicious, the victim’s family later contacted the patrol.
“A week later, the teen saw the vehicle again (a gold Chevy Avalanche) and was able to get a license plate number,” Redden said. “That’s how we were able to find him.”
After an investigation, the patrol charged Rogers on May 17.
“It was an ongoing investigation. We wanted to build a strong, solid case, and that took some time,” Redden said.
The incident has a familiar sound in north central Ohio.
In May 2009, Clyde Heitzman, 49, was arrested after he was accused of pulling over a vehicle near U.S. 30 and Fourth Street, blowing his horn and flashing his bright lights at a couple driving to their home in Crestline.
He was sentenced to 90 days in jail.
In February, the Morrow County Sheriff’s department began a search for a man accused of impersonating a police officer in Morrow County. Morrow County Sheriff Steven Brenneman said the suspect is accused of pulling over a vehicle.
“I wouldn’t say this kind of thing is a real problem in this area,” he said.
“If you’re going to be stopped in Ohio, the officer should be in a marked patrol car. The officer should be in uniform, which should specify who they work for. If it’s not clear, ask.”