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'Violent police impersonator' preying on Miami elderly

A rendering of the suspect police say they're looking for in a series of attacks on the elderly in Miami.
A rendering of the suspect police say they're looking for in a series of attacks on the elderly in Miami.Miami Police

Miami Police say they are looking for a “violent police impersonator” who identifies himself as a police officer to his elderly victims, then demands their ID and robs them.

Police say the man pretending to be an officer wears a black shirt that reads “police” and flashes a badge at his unsuspecting victims in their 70s and 80s as they walk in Little Havana.

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He asks his victims, like Enrique Campos, to give him all their money and identification, sometimes saying he’s with immigration and needs their documents. When the victim hesitates he beats them, as he did Campos, the 78-year-old man said.

There have been seven incidents of robberies and confrontations involving a police impersonator with a similar vehicle and MO since March 6, police said.

Rafael Acsina said he was barely 30 feet from his front door one recent night when a man pretending to be a police officer – who wore a shirt that said "police" on the front and carried a gun – drove up and accused him of having drugs.

"He said you have to come with me in my car," said Acsina, who at 46 is the only victim younger than his 70s.

Then the man got out of his car and started to frisk him as though he were going to arrest him – but really he was grabbing his belongings out of his pockets, Acsina said.

In one case, the suspect briefly kidnapped a victim, police said.

Miami Police spokesman Sgt. Freddie Cruz said the suspect stopped that victim as he was driving, got his information, and “then made the victim get in his car and told him he was going to take him to jail. Several blocks later, after driving, he dropped the victim off. We don’t know what his intentions were, but this is a concern to us.”

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Police say they are looking for a white Latin man who is between 25 and 35 years old, is between 5 feet 10 inches and 5 feet 11 inches tall, weights 190 to 200 pounds, has short hair, and has tattoos on both arms.

He possibly drives a black four-door Ford Taurus with tinted windows and is considered armed and dangerous, police said.

Police ask anyone with information to call Miami-Dade Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS.

Acsina said the man who accosted him was drunk, and that once he realized he was not a real police officer he managed to escape unharmed. But the experience terrified him and is something he will never forget, he said.

"I didn’t expect that somebody would try to kill me with a gun," he said.

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