A Kelowna woman whose motorcycle broke down was left badly shaken after a bizarre roadside encounter with a man she believed to be a police officer.
He pulled up in a car with flashing lights and offered to fix her bike — which he did — after she was stopped Saturday afternoon on the shoulder of Highway 97 in Peachland.
Given he was driving a vehicle with flashing lights, and based on the way he was speaking with her, the woman said she assumed he was a police officer who’d kindly stopped to help her.
“The car pulled up behind me with lights on,” the woman wrote on social media posts that have since been deleted.
“The person had blue pants and blue shirt blue ball cap,” she wrote. “Didn’t question much as the lights were flashing, so to me it was a cop.”
The woman said she asked to see the man’s credentials, and she says she gained the impression he was an off-duty police officer who was also capable of fixing a motorbike.
At first, she was grateful for the offer to help, but she became increasingly uneasy through the encounter, especially when the man asked her to step into his vehicle after he’d fixed her motorbike.
“Before I got in, he said it was lucky he had stopped me and not someone who would rape or hurt me and commented on how blue my eyes were,” the woman wrote.
Moments earlier, an off-duty RCMP officer who happened to drive by in the other direction noticed the car with flashing lights in its grill and became suspicious. He radioed his concerns to the West Kelowna RCMP detachment.
An on-duty officer was then dispatched to the scene. The RCMP officer questioned the man, noticed alcohol on his breath and observed open alcohol in his car, according to a press release issued Tuesday by Kelowna RCMP with the headline “Arrest of Alleged Police Impersonator.”
The man was taken into custody, then released on conditions for a future court date.
The investigation is ongoing, RCMP Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy said in the release, noting that it will be up to the B.C. Prosecution Service to decide what charges, if any, are laid against the man.
“RCMP is appealing to anyone who witnessed this incident, or has any other information that may aid our investigators to contact the West Kelowna RCMP,” Noseworthy said.
There have been other reports recently in the Okanagan of someone impersonating a police officer at roadside checks.
“We will be looking into potential connections with other reports of possible police impersonation. At this time, we have not established any direct links,” Noseworthy said.
The woman wrote about the experience near the corner of Highway 97 and Drought Road in Peachland on social media shortly after it happened Saturday, two days before the police issued their press release.
The Daily Courier has spoken with the woman and she gave permission for her posted online comments to be used in this article.
She declined to speak further about the incident, however.
“At this point, I’m not sure how this could have gone, what this impersonating officer was doing, but, yes, he fixed my bike,” she wrote Saturday on social media.
She also wrote: “At no time did I feel I was in danger, and I’m sure if I was I would have felt it. This is a scary story because I did sit in a car and I was alone due by my ignorance on not knowing police protocol. I have not stopped shaking since as due to my ignorance, and I’m sure a lot of people don’t know police protocol, may have done exactly what I did because policing does not only come in a RCMP uniform.
“It is a scary story, and the thing is my story is a safe ending one,” she wrote. “Girls, be careful out there. I was fooled because of the lights flashing in my mirrors and the rest played out. Thank you to the motorist that called it in.”
The woman has given her statement to police.