The Limestone County Sheriff’s Office said Monday that a social media post claiming two men posing as law enforcement officers were stopping people turned out to be false.
Investigators were able to identify the two men as on-duty Athens Police Department detectives who were searching for someone at a residence when the “victim” pulled up to the residence, said Stephen Young, sheriff’s office spokesman.
The man who allegedly claimed he was pursued by two suspicious men in a Pontiac allegedly posing as police officers did not file a report with the sheriff’s office, Young said.
However, a post on Facebook about it early last week got a lot of attention from concerned residents. Investigators eventually determined the two men were Athens police detectives driving an unmarked SUV, not a Pontiac, and that the man referenced in the Facebook post had pulled up to a residence where they were searching for someone, said Young.
“All indications are that there were no people posing as law enforcement officers and contacting citizens in Limestone County,” said Sheriff Mike Blakely. “Anyone who is contacted by a person they think is posing as a law enforcement officer should immediately file a police report instead of only posting about the incident on social media. This can often avoid misunderstandings that alarm residents unnecessarily.”
Billy Mack says his mom is still on edge after the two men showed up at her door unannounced last week, looking for a missing girl.
“I was just scared for my mom. Didn’t know what I could do,” said Mack.
Mack’s mother thought the cops were imposters when they told her the missing girl’s cell phone pinged at her home. She filed a report with the Limestone County Sheriff’s Office after the visit.
“It’s important that people know what’s really going on and what’s not. You’ve got people who are locking their doors and afraid to go outside because of a threat that doesn’t exist,” said Stephen Young, Limestone County Sheriff’s Office spokesman.
One of the victim’s neighbors says she’s relieved to hear the news.
“It had everybody out here scared and nervous, and trying protect themselves,” said Lakisha Holt.
Holt says she thinks the scare could’ve been prevented, if people hadn’t created a panic on social media, and if the cops had left a business card with Mack’s mother.
“They should’ve done a better job of announcing themselves and making it known who they were. It probably would’ve stopped a lot of the confusion and everything,” said Holt.
Even after hearing the cops were real, the community is remaining vigilant.
“I’m the new watchman. Ever since that took place, we’re the neighborhood watch,” said Billy Mack.
No charges are expected to be filed in this case. The Limestone County Sheriff’s Office says the victim did the right thing by filing a police report.
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