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Man Posing as Law Enforcement Officer Robs Woman

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LINN COUNTY, Iowa - A woman reported being robbed at gunpoint Thursday by a masked man posing as a police officer.

According to the Linn County Sheriff's Office, the alleged victim was driving north on Highway 13 from the Marion area around 10:30 p.m. Police said when the woman was south of Central City at Burnett Station Road a dark-colored vehicle with a set of flashing red and blue lights attempted to pull her over. The woman told authorities she thought it was a law enforcement officer in an unmarked squad car and pulled her vehicle to the side of the road.

Police said the woman was approached by a man wearing a black ski mask, dark coat and black gloves. She told authorities the man displayed what appeared to be a black handgun and demanded cash. Police said the woman complied with the demand and the man backed away from the car. She fled the scene in her car and called 911.

The robber was described as approximately 5'10" and weighing 200 pounds, but the woman was unable to provide a description of the man's race or facial features, according to the sheriff's office. The robber fled the scene in an unknown direction.

While the sheriff's office does utilize plain clothed deputies and unmarked squad cars, the sheriff's office said that a deputy will not approach a vehicle wearing a ski mask and will typically have more than one set of emergency lights, generally alternating headlamps and lights located both behind the grill and in the dash area of the vehicle. Squad cars are usually equipped with sirens, as well.

Anyone who is unsure about the identity of an unmarked squad car attempting to make a traffic stop is advised to activate their hazard lights and pull over in a well lit area. They can also call 911 to speak with a dispatcher to ensure they are being stopped by an actual law enforcement officer.

The sheriff's office believes the robbery was an isolated incident.

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