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Man Posed as Law Enforcement Officer in Florida, Placed Woman Under False Arrest and Raped Her: Police

Justin Evans, courtesy of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

Justin Evans, courtesy of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office

A man in South Florida was arrested this week after officials say he impersonated a police officer as part of a scheme to pull over, kidnap, and rape a female victim.

Deputies with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) took 35-year-old Justin Evans into custody on Tuesday and charged him with a slew of felonies, including impersonating a public officer, sexual battery on a victim over 18, kidnapping, third-degree grand theft, and false imprisonment.

According to a press release from HCSO, Evans late Monday evening began following a vehicle that left a convenience store in Tampa with a female driver and two female passengers inside. Evans was allegedly driving a dark blue Chevy Malibu that investigators believe had blue LED lights mounted to the dashboard to give the appearance that he was driving a police vehicle.

The alleged victim told investigators that Evans turned on the LED lights and proceeded to have her pull over her vehicle into an apartment complex located at 14417 Hellenic Drive.

“Evans, who was wearing dark clothing, approached the vehicle and identified himself as a law enforcement officer conducting a narcotics investigation. All three victims were ordered out of the vehicle and told to put their hands on the hood while Evans searched their bodies,” HCSO said. “Evans advised one of the women, a 27-year-old black female, that she was under arrest. He tied her hands behind her back with a zip tie then placed her in the backseat of his car. Evans drove the victim to a nearby apartment complex where she was sexually battered inside his vehicle.”

The woman said that after the Evans raped her, he then put her back in his vehicle and drove her back near where he had originally pulled her vehicle over and let her out of the car. She then called the sheriff’s office and reported that she had been raped.

HCSO deputies said they located Evans driving the same dark blue Chevy Malibu on Bruce B Downs Blvd in Pasco County. HCSO said that after Evans realized he was being followed by deputies, he ditched his vehicle and attempted to evade capture on foot by fleeing into a nearby wooded area, but was soon found and taken into custody.

Video of his arrest was posted online by HCSO and can be viewed below.

“It’s extremely upsetting and concerning to think that someone was taking advantage of the trust our citizens have in law enforcement by pretending to be a law enforcement officer,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. “Sexually battering a victim in the process heightened our urgency to find and arrest this suspect as quickly as possible. We need to find anyone who may have seen this vehicle or been stopped by this suspect. Please, don’t be afraid to come forward if you’ve been victimized.”

Evans is currently being held at the Pasco County Jail without bond. It’s unclear if he has an attorney in this matter. Jail records say Evans, standing at 6’0″ and weighing 240 pounds, was born in Danville, Va.

HCSO asked that anyone who believes they may have been victimized by Evans in a similar fashion to contact the office at 813-247-8200.

[image via HCSO]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.