School Video Shows 'Fake Cop' Who Fondled Teens

By: Denise Wong Email
By: Denise Wong Email

Reno, NV - Police are trying to warn parents and children about a man who has impersonated a police officer. On Monday, just before noon, the man approached three girls at Rainshadow Community Charter High School. It happened outside the building. The man told the girls he was a cop and he needed to search them. That's when he fondled them.

The principal at the high school says he found out about the incident not long after it happened. Because the school is a closed campus, the girls - ages 17 and 18 - were not supposed to be outside the building. When it was discovered that they were, they were sent to see the principal and that's when they told the principal what happened.

"At first they were really worried because they thought they were being arrested by the police," says Steve West, principal of Rainshadow Community Charter High School. "But then after the fact, after the guy left and they realized maybe he wasn't really a policeman, maybe it was a strange deal."

The principal realized that the school had surveillance cameras in the area where it happened. That's when he took a look - and sure enough, it was all caught on video.

"I made a recording for the police so they have pictures of the guy," says West.

Principal West notified staff immediately so that they could talk to their students and make them aware of what had occurred.

Reno Police say this incident is very similar to another one that happened at Vaughn School last October. In that case, the suspect was never caught and they say this could possibly be the same guy.

Since children are often taught to respect authority, incidents like these may be difficult for parents to talk to their kids about.

But Washoe County School Police Deputy Chief Jason Trevino says parents should tell their kids to follow their gut. If they come across someone who says he or she is an officer, but things don't feel right, trust that.

"And you can certainly ask for identification," he says. "We're not telling people not to trust police, but ask for identification to verify they are who they say they are." Trevino stresses that means a picture ID card that states the person is an officer, not just a badge since fake ones are fairly easy for anyone to obtain on the internet.

Secret Witness is offering a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest in this case. If you have information that could help detectives, you're asked to call Secret Witness at 775-322-4900.

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