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Sheriff's officials identified the body of man found on Harmony Grove Road near Escondido on Thursday.
Sheriff's officials identified the body of man found on Harmony Grove Road near Escondido on Thursday. File photo
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Reports of fake Sheriff’s deputy in Encinitas found to be false

ENCINITAS — The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department ensures there is no public threat after reports of a man posing as a deputy the week of June 30 in Encinitas have since been determined to be false.

A mother of a teenage girl reported a possible law enforcement impersonator after her daughter encountered suspicious behavior during a traffic stop near the intersection of Coast Highway 101 and D Street in Encinitas.

The mother took to Facebook, warning her community of a man in uniform who allegedly pulled her daughter over in an unmarked vehicle, intimidated her and refused to move to a second location to complete the stop before leaving without ticketing the young driver.

“Due to the facts [the family provided] we were concerned at first,” Sgt. Chris Lawrence said, adding that the department quickly began reaching out to federal partners attempting to confirm their involvement.

However, a Sheriff’s deputy saw the posts and called into the station reporting he was the one pulled over the teen after the post picked up attention across online community groups, Lawrence told the Coast News.

The deputy was reportedly “in uniform, in a marked car,” Lawrence said.

Alicia Sunstedt, the mother of the teen, clarified the confusion in a later post on social media. However, she expressed concerns regarding the manner of the stop and also shared information to spot a fake officer.

“We come from the belief that most police officers are good people dedicating their life to try and keep peace and order,” Sunstedt said. “The Encinitas Sheriff’s Office has been nothing but responsive and supportive to our concerns.“

If a driver feels uncomfortable pulling over in a location or is unsure if an actual officer is conducting the stop, slow down, enable hazards, and move into the right lane until arriving at a safe location. Drivers are encouraged to call 911 if they believe they are being pulled over by a law enforcement impersonator.

For the latest crime reports in Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar, please visit The Coast News’ Weekly Crime Reports. For up-to-the-minute arrest reports in North County, check out our Daily Arrest Logs. 

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