Driver of fake cop car stopped by Oakland Co.'s sheriff charged
Pontiac — The man pulled over by Oakland County's sheriff Thursday for driving a vehicle resembling a cop car was formally charged over the weekend.
Adrian Afriyie Ansah-Asante, 23, of Waterford Township was arraigned Saturday at the Oakland County Jail on a charge of carrying a concealed weapon, a five-year felony, and possession of a vehicle with flashing lights, a 90-day misdemeanor, according to the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.
A magistrate set Ansah-Asante's bond at $50,000 and ordered him to wear a GPS tether if he is released. He was also ordered to not operate a motor vehicle with emergency lights or to possess firearms or any other dangerous weapons.
Officials said Ansah-Asante was arrested at about 2 p.m. Thursday after Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard saw an SUV that had police markings, police antennas, push bumpers and police light arrays on it while driving in the Telegraph and Orchard Lake roads area. The vehicle was speeding, the sheriff said, and had illegally tinted front windows.
After the sheriff ran the license plate and it came back registered to a home in Waterford Township, he pulled the vehicle over at a business in Waterford. He spoke to the driver who was later identified as Ansah-Asante.
Deputies who searched Ansah-Asante's vehicle found several suspicious items inside, including a laptop computer mounted to the console and a fake radar unit. They also found he had a loaded .45 glock handgun but did not have a valid concealed pistol license.
Lawmen say "wannabes," persons posing as police officers, are always a concern.
"Its really not that unusual," said Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer, who has worked on police departments in Detroit and Farmington Hills.
"There are people out there who have a fantasy of being a police officer and get kicks out of impersonating them," Dwyer said. "More troubling are those that have some criminal intent. They may want to try and pull someone over to rob or to rape them."
Dwyer said anyone who has suspicions about whether a vehicle is actually a police car should call 9-1-1 and drive at a lawful speed to a public, well-lit, safe location, preferably a police station.
Robert Stevenson, former Livonia police chief who is executive director of the Police Chiefs Association of Michigan, said "it's anyone's guess what motivates someone to do this." Stevenson's group has 1,200 members from 400 police agencies across Michigan.
"It's extremely disturbing for us to have fake police officers driving around," said Stevenson. "I would tell anyone the same advice I have given to my family: If you suspect something is wrong to phone for help and to also drive to a safe location."
Police admit it may be difficult to differentiate between a fake and real, unmarked car. Dark tinted glass is legal on rear windows but driver, passenger and windshields can only be partially shaded under law..
"Private security companies outfit their cars with overhead lights, antenna, push bars and a lot of the hardware you see on real police cars," Stevenson said. "But if it's got official looking-markings and the name of a city like 'Livonia' across it, they have crossed a line."