SHELBYVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Shelby County sheriff is warning people to be on the lookout for a fake officer who is a real thief.

A woman said she was pulled over by a navy blue Crown Victoria with blue lights in the grille around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday on Freedom's Way near La Grange Road near Shelbyville.

The man asked for the woman's identification, but she soon discovered he was not a police officer.

“He started to demand her purse and some other items. Once that was acquired he sped off,” said Det. Eric Hettinger of the Shelby Co. Sheriff’s Dept.

Hettinger said the man did show a gun, but the victim was not hurt.

Authorities are now urging drivers to use caution when being pulled over by an unmarked vehicle.

“We suggest turning on your hazard lights, so the officer knows you've recognized them, slow down to a reasonable speed, and pull into a safe location if possible,” said Hettinger.

Hettinger said motorists can also take the extra step of calling 9-1-1 to verify it is an actual police officer.

Several longtime Shelby County residents told WDRB News they will now have their guard up.

“It's kind of scary that that could happen,” said Christina Test.

“I'd cooperate with whatever they say, and then I would definitely find a way to call the sheriff and say hey I think something was fishy,” added Dylan Miller.

“I don't think I'd get out of the car right away. I think I would wait for like a form of identification,” said Kayla Henderson.

Police describe the suspect as a black male about 5 feet 8 inches tall, with short hair that is shaved on the side, and a muscular build. He was wearing a blue uniform and a duty belt.

Hettinger said having a fake police officer running around makes life tougher for the real ones.

“Anytime there is any type of issue that causes mistrust between the public and law enforcement it obviously makes our job more difficult to complete,” he said.

The Shelby County Sheriff’s office said the suspect could literally be anywhere, so drivers outside Shelby County should also be on guard.

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Reporter

I cover a range of stories for WDRB, but really enjoy tracking what's going on at our State Capitol. I grew up on military bases all over the world, but am a Kentuckian at heart. I'm an EKU alum, and have lived in Louisville for 30 years.