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Man arrested for impersonating officer after trying to stop Southport police officer

SOUTHPORT, Ind. (WISH) — An Indianapolis man was arrested for impersonating a police officer after authorities say he tried to pull over a real police officer.

According to the Southport Police Department, Phillipp Espique on March 1 was headed south on U.S. 31 in a white Ford Taurus when he sped up, pulled alongside a vehicle and turned on a siren.

Espique was not following proper procedures so the officer who was pulled over, an off-duty Southport Police Department lieutenant, knew something was fishy.

“Knowing basic police functions, we don’t generally pull alongside somebody and just hit our siren or hit our horn,” Southport Police Sgt. John Benton said.

When the officer did not pull over, Espique got aggressive, police said. According to the department, Espique cut in front of the officer’s vehicle while in a turn lane, exited his vehicle and had a gun on his belt.

The lieutenant, who had his family with him and wanted to keep them safe, did not identify himself to Espique but did call an on-duty supervisor to the scene and shared Espique’s plate number. But, police say, Espique left the scene before the on-duty supervisor arrived.

Following an investigation into the case, on April 21, Espique was arrested by police for an outstanding warrant. He now also faces preliminary charges of impersonation of a public servant, criminal confinement, intimidation and reckless driving.

“That’s always something that we worry about when somebody impersonates an officer: what their intentions and their goals are,” Benton said. “If it’s just to get a kick out of it and make some traffic stops or if it’s something a little bit more violent unfortunately.”

The reason Espique left after pulling over the lieutenant was not clear.

“So I don’t know if he just … something spooked him or what, but they said it could have very well just been the phone call that he saw our lieutenant making to his supervisor and that was enough to get him to jump back in the car and go,” Benton said.

After Espique drove off, a warrant was issued for his arrest March 1. Espique was arrested Tuesday. Indiana’s court and jail online information services had no information on Espique.

Southport police say Espique may have pulled over more drivers on the south side.

“The most easy way, or the most common way to tell is simply knowing the law,” Benton said. “So if you feel unsafe, it’s always OK for you to call 911 if you’re being pulled over by someone you don’t think is a police officer. They can verify you for that.”

If you believe you were pulled over by the man, you can contact “Detective Ryan” with the Southport Police Department.

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