SYRACUSE, N.Y. — An undercover police operation took an odd turn Thursday when a Syracuse police officer pretending to be a john met a suspected prostitute who pretended to be a police officer.
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The encounter ended with two women under arrest. Police charged Lisa Greene, 31, with first-degree criminal impersonation, prostitution and fifth-degree conspiracy. Elena Irwin, 20, was charged with fifth-degree conspiracy and possession of a hypodermic needle.
Police spokesman Sgt. Tom Connellan said a male undercover officer driving in a neighborhood known for prostitution was flagged down by Greene. The woman got in his car and the two went to a nearby parking lot to negotiate a price for sex.
She asked the cop if he was a cop and the police officer said no.
"That's OK, because I am," the woman told the officer as she pulled out handcuffs and a two-way radio and barked a command into the radio: "Move in!"
The officer, concerned the woman was armed and looking to rob him, forced her from the car, Connellan said. Moments later, officers who had been monitoring the situation arrived and grabbed Greene — with the radio and cuffs — at a nearby intersection.
A male officer pretending to be a female used the radio to find out who was on the other end, Connellan said.
Police found Irwin waiting in a car in a nearby alley.
"We believe these people were going to rob people or extort money," Connellan said.
He did not know if they had successfully used the scam in the past.
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