BONHAM, Tex. -- It's a crime local police say happens in cycles-- ordinary citizens pretending to be law enforcement. Over the past year, there have been several incidents reported throughout Texoma leading some to wonder if the availability of police equipment could make police impersonation easier.
Last Friday night, authorities say a man posing as a police officer driving a car which resembles a patrol car pulled over a Whitesboro man in the Sherman Wal-Mart parking lot. The victim realized the man was not really an officer and called 911. Sherman police later arrested the impersonator.
Another impersonator pulled over a woman in Anna last year and handcuffed her while he went through her purse. No arrest was made in that case.
In each of these incidents, cars that resemble real police cruisers have been used, one of which is for sale just west of one Texoma town.
So is it legal to buy and sell imitation patrol cars or real cruisers?
We spoke to police officers and while it is legal for citizens to buy a fully equipped police cruiser, it is illegal to operate it on the road without making a few adjustments.
A police car sitting on the side of the road is usually enough to make any driver slow down but there's no officer sitting in a cruiser off of Highway 82 just west of Bonham.
It's for sale.
"I bought it on eBay and I want to sell it to make some money," says the car’s seller, Steven Dane.
Dane says it is a real patrol car from an Oklahoma police department. He says he bought it ‘as is’, equipped with lights, sirens, and police decals on the sides.
Dane says he was surprised to find out it is legal to buy a real patrol car.
"I was told as long as the police part is covered and you take the lights off, but you can't drive it like this."
Authorities say that is the case in Texas and in Oklahoma. The car can be outfitted, but you can't use any lights or sirens while on the road.
Not everyone we talked to agrees with the law.
"I can't believe this is out here," concerned citizen John Dooley says.
Imagine being pulled over by an officer. The problem with this car being for sale to the general public is what if the wrong person ends up behind the wheel.
Dane says he would hate for this car to end up in the wrong hands, but he says that is what the real officers are for.
Dane says he will sell to whoever meets his price of $5,000. He hopes a security officer or a police department would buy the vehicle as a security measure.
Dane says he is also considering selling to interested law enforcement for the price he paid.