Petty Impersonators

17 03 2010
Police Tape by freefotouk
Police Tape, a photo by freefotouk on Flickr.

I don’t understand how criminals can’t think of better schemes in which to perpetrate their crimes this day and age.  I mean all they have to do is google the sort of crime they want to commit and they’ll find a ton of creative ideas.  At least they can make it challenging to the general public or make people even admire their creative criminal mind.  I don’t agree to crime in any way, unfortunately I have to deal with it in my profession sporadically, I do however have a weird sense of respect to the intellect of some fraudsters who are behind elaborate fraud schemes.

Today I was stopped on a main busy road in London by an Italian tourist asking the whereabouts of Victoria Station.  He was on the other side of town and explained that he was lost  We agreed to show him where he was on his tourist map and try to get him on his way to the station.  He started small talk wanting to know if we were tourists or students.  He really wanted to establish that we are not residents of London.  It was kind of weird, so I went along and didn’t mention that I am quite familiar with London and I have been coming here since I was a tiny embryo in my mother womb.

Suddenly, two other guys come along showing their personal ID’s through a plastic card holder inside their old, dirty fake leather wallets yelling “police!”.  They were wearing cheap black leather jackets from the 80s and dirty out of style jeans.  They demanded in extremely bad English that we show them our passports.  Even an alien life form would figure out they were Italian from the way they spoke.  I wanted to grab his ID and the moment I touched it he  quickly pulled it back and said “no touch!”  Needless to say, I told him I am going to call the real police for you now so they scattered including their tourist friend.

It was comical on several levels.  Physically, we were bigger than them so I hope for their sake that the were not pondering forcefully getting some cash out of us without the use of  heavy artillery.  I’m a relatively big guy (read fat), but one of my friends is over 2 meters tall and could probably alone take all three of them.  Their appearance in no way reflects that of a policeman neither did their language.  It got even funnier when one of them started walking briskly away and saying “call police number is 142” which is not the emergency number in the UK (nor in Italy, I checked).  I mean are you trying to trick me into calling the wrong number for crying out loud! Please don’t push your insult to my intelligence to that level.  How hard it would have been to wear decent clothes, a high visibility shirt and use any weird looking card instead of your personal ID to impersonate a police officer?  At least then, it would take people 5 seconds to spot you are fake.  By that time, you could have came even closer to snatch their wallet or something during the confusion.

I didn’t call the police because the impersonators would have been gone by the time the police reached us.  I went about the rest of my day hoping that none actually falls for that lousy act.

I have later learned that some Italian football club was playing in London yesterday so maybe those guys were some of the fans that traveled to watch the game and thought maybe they could make a couple of quids while they were here.  Either way, I felt sad for them.