Jan 172006
Authors: Vimal Patel regionalcollegian.com

Police are looking for a man who impersonated a sheriff's deputy and knocked on a woman's door last week, telling her a local rapist was at large.

A woman in the 1200 block of Gaelic Place reported that the man, posing as a Larimer County Sheriff's Office deputy, asked her personal information including whether she lived alone.

When the woman contacted the Fort Collins Police Department the following day, she was told they had no information about a rape suspect.

Police believe the woman talked to an impersonator.

She described the impersonator to police as 5' 9" with dark brown, medium length hair, a small moustache and green eyes.

He wore dark blue pants and a shirt with a sheriff's office patch on the sleeve and a gold badge, according to a press release about the Jan. 12 incident.

Eloise Campanella, a spokeswoman for the Larimer County Sheriff's Office, said there are precautions people can take to protect themselves from impersonators.

If unsure, call 911 to check before opening the door, she said, but make sure you let the individual know you are aware of his or her presence by shouting at them with the door still closed, since they may be legitimate.

"If (the person contacted by an officer) is in a car, you should drive slowly, turn on emergency lights, and drive to a lighted place where they feel more secure," she said.

Colorado toughened its penalties for impersonating law enforcement after the murder of 20-year-old Fort Collins resident Lacy Miller in 2003.

State Representative Bob McCluskey wrote the legislation, which now makes impersonation of law enforcement a felony.

"We had a lot of bipartisan support in the legislature," he said.

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