Two people were arrested for allegedly impersonating police officers and threatening to deport immigrants living in the country illegally unless they paid the suspects, Pomona police said Friday.
Andres Sanchez, 20, of Ontario, and a 17-year-old whose name was withheld were arrested in Fontana, said Pomona police Capt. Michael Ellis. Sanchez was being held on $50,000 bail, according to the sheriff’s department. Information on the juvenile was not immediately released.
“Over the last two weeks, the Pomona Police Department has been investigating a series of robberies involving police impersonators that targeted undocumented immigrants in our community,” Ellis said.
“The two suspects in these robberies followed victims to different parts of the city and pulled them over using a personal sedan outfitted with red and blue lights,” Ellis said. “The suspects wore police clothing and had police equipment visible on their belts during the commission of these robberies.
Ellis said the suspects would ask victims about their immigration status, then demanded money while threatening to call Immigration and Customs Enforcement if they did not comply.
“Each victim handed over cash, fearing they’d be deported,” he said. It was unclear how much money the suspects collected.
The investigation led detectives to Fontana, where they arrested the suspects, who had committed a similar crime in that city, Ellis said.
“Incidents such as this are a high priority to the Pomona Police Department,” Ellis said. “Having someone committing robberies under the guise of a police officer is not only dangerous for the victims, but it erodes the public’s trust of real police officers, which we work very hard to protect.”
Police urged other possible victims or witnesses to call Detective Chris Blank at (909) 802-7462.
–City News Service
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