Watch CBS News

Sacramento sheriff's office asks for public's help after possible deputy impersonator arrest

Sacramento sheriff's office seeks community's help after possible deputy impersonator arrest
Sacramento sheriff's office seeks community's help after possible deputy impersonator arrest 03:12

SACRAMENTO — The Sacramento County Sheriff's Office said the tips are flooding in after they arrested a person for possibly impersonating a deputy.

The shocking discovery came after a high-speed stolen car chase in North Highlands on Saturday night. 

"The first thing I thought is I hope there's not a shootout because I heard them telling him to put down his weapon," said Devin McCord who witnessed the arrest on Viola Drive in North Highlands. 

Anthony Whitley Sacramento County Sheriff's Office

Surveillance video from a neighbor's camera captured 36-year-old Anthony Whitley being taken down by a K-9 and deputies. Investigators said this was after he stole a copycat cop car and led police on the high-speed chase that started near Watt Avenue and Peacekeeper Way in North Highlands.

The surprise was what they found inside the white Ford Crown Victoria. 

"They go to search the car and they find a loaded shotgun, they find an imitation handgun that by all means looks as real as can be, several sheriff uniforms," said Sergeant Amar Gandhi with the Sacramento County Sheriff's Office. 

Deputies were able to use the PIT maneuver to disable the stolen car. They said Whitley then tried to run away but was quickly taken down by Sheriff K9 Philbert. 

Barbara Kattenhorn had no idea the high-speed chase ended in her front yard. 

"It is scary. You are not safe anywhere anymore," she said. "I didn't know what happened, didn't ask." 

McCord and his friend, Anthony Gonzales, watched the whole thing play out and were disturbed by a possible deputy dupe. 

"What are you using that uniform for? Are you pulling people over and issuing tickets?" Gonzales said. "Or is he potentially using that uniform to intimidate somebody?"

There was a similar case in Winters last week when officers said a possible police imposter tried to pull someone over.

"For us, it is one of the biggest breaches of public trust," said Sgt. Gandhi. 

So how do you tell a real cop from a fake one? Sgt. Gandhi said the biggest indicator of a real officer is a forward-facing steady red light on their car, but if you are suspicious, you should turn on your hazards, keep driving and call 911. 

Sgt. Gandhi also told CBS13 that Whitley was on probation with a lengthy criminal record. One of the sheriff uniforms he had was from a long-retired deputy, but he had no personal relationship with them or anyone else in law enforcement. 

They are still investigating how and why he had all the uniforms and weapons. 

"No doubt he was desperate," said Gonzalez. 

The sheriff's office is asking for the public's help in this. If you were ever contacted by Whitley pretending to be law enforcement or have any other information to help the case, call the sheriff's office at (916) 874-5115 or Sacramento Valley Crime Stoppers at (916) 443-HELP (4357). 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.