MANHATTAN – As the NYPD continues to search for the alleged imposters who sexually assaulted a woman in Chelsea, the crime of police impersonation is particularly concerning.
"It's not your usual type of crime, so obviously if it happened this time it could very potentially happen again," Manny Gomez of MG Security Services said. "So people need to be aware that these guys are still out there."
However, what these guys did is also generating this kind of reaction from people who frequent, or in the case of Jennifer King, work along 16th Street in Chelsea.
"Horrifying, that is scary," Jennifer King said. "Scared for my life, like I don't know what to do."
What was the crime that two men believed to be in this vehicle allegedly pull off? The NYPD says they sexually assaulted a woman after claiming to be police officers.
For Gomez, a former NYPD cop and FBI agent, this crime hits a little too close to home.
"This is my neighborhood, I literally live up the block from here and so its personally scary to me," Gomez said.
For Gomez, the crime of impersonating a police officer and then committing a sexual assault is an uncommon one, yet it is extremely concerning. All one has to do is take into consideration what most people routinely do when they get pulled over, that is show respect to the badge.
"You don't want fight back because they are claiming to be the police and if you're a good citizen you don't fight the police," Gomez said.
The NYPD said the two men, believed to be in their 40s, ordered the 67-year-old woman to pull over. After they identified themselves as police officers, they moved her to another location in the vicinity and committed a sexual assault.
A member of the NYPD said what makes crimes like these possible is the simple fact that a person can order a replica police badge or light package for their vehicle off the internet in a matter of minutes. Once they have their props and courage to go with it, the sinister impersonation is virtually complete, which is why hearing of a crime like this, leaves people like King questioning exactly who to believe.
"You can't even trust that they are cops now," King said. "You can't even trust who is a cop and who isn't a cop. It's like what do you do? You know?"
Gomez,said the only real weapons a person has in this situation is their gut instincts and a cell phone.
"My best advice would be, if you feel uncomfortable and obviously don't believe that it's the police, call 911, tell them that you have a vehicle claiming to be the police trying to pull you over and have the real police come over and try to help you out," Gomez said.