CHARLOTTE, N.C. — An unmarked Ford Mustang with temporary tags was spotted pulling drivers over in Charlotte.
A photo of the car has been shared thousands of times on social media. Many people were concerned the driver could be a police impersonator, saying things like, “No way I’m pulling over for that,” and tweeting at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police, “Is this legit? I’m thinking it’s a fake. Anyone can put blue lights on a car.”
NBC Charlotte confirmed the vehicle in the photo is not CMPD, but it is a legitimate Mecklenburg County ABC unit vehicle.
Mecklenburg County ABC Chief Mike Crowley said they don’t usually pull people over, but they can if they suspect a drunk driver. However, this unmarked vehicle made people pretty uneasy, especially since there have been several reports of police impersonators in the news lately.
Police in Georgia searched for a man going around pretending to be a cop. The suspect used blue lights to pull two different women over and sexually assault them. A man was arrested in Arizona last week for trying to pull people over in an elaborate fake cruiser.
If you have doubts about whether the car pulling you over is legit, call 911. They’ll be able to quickly figure out if it’s a real officer tailing you. Police said it’s rare for an unmarked cruiser to conduct a traffic stop, so it’s understandable if you’re wary.
No sirens, no markings, and small lights should all be red flags. Keep your door locked, your window cracked and don’t be afraid to ask an officer for their identification. By law, they must present it.
State agencies like North Carolina Highway Patrol confirmed they would never send out a cruiser with temporary tags, so it’s no surprise people were so concerned. Chief Crowley said the car in the photo now has a permanent plate.