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Virginia Police Impersonator Stopped Off-Duty Officer

January 8th, 2008 03:48 PM EDT

FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. --

Police in Fairfax County said a teenager arrested for impersonating a police officer may have been involved in similar impersonations across the region.

Steven Rivas, a 19-year-old criminal justice student, was arrested Saturday and accused of impersonating a police officer and pulling over an off-duty Fairfax County officer on her way home from work, investigators said. Rivas, of Annandale, flipped on blue lights on a 2004 gold Ford Explorer at about 1 a.m. Saturday and signaled for the officer to stop on the northbound ramp from Gallows Road to the Beltway, police said.

Investigators said Rivas identified himself as an undercover police officer.

When the real officer identified herself and asked to see Rivas' badge and credentials, he drove away with blue and white lights still flashing, police said.

Steven Rivas

The real officer took down the vehicle's license plate number and gave it to police, who arrested Rivas at his Annandale home.

Jose Rivas, Steven Rivas' father, said his son is in "big trouble." Rivas was driving his father's vehicle. His father said he asked his son many times where he got the flashing lights he used in the stop.

"It surprised me, too, because I'm trying to keep him on the right way, but he won't listen," Jose Rivas said.

Police said Rivas was taken to the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center and charged with impersonating a police officer, reckless driving, use of unauthorized lights and abduction.

Police said they are investigating whether Rivas was involved in similar incidents. Anyone with information about the case should call Fairfax County police.

Police warn drivers to use caution when they are stopped by police. Police said drivers should turn on their vehicle's emergency flashers, drive to the nearest well-lit, populated area before stopping and ask for the officer's official identification if it seems questionable.

Drivers can also call 911 and ask the call taker to verify the traffic stop, police said.