News 12 First at Five / Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Deputies are looking for a man who beat and then sexually assaulted a 59-year-old woman. The victim says the man lured her in by claiming to be a police officer.
Neighbors say it's a bad area of town and that they are used to living in fear, but they say this is a whole new type of fear for them.
Christine Fox lives right beside where it all happened.
"It does make me nervous. If he was impersonating a police officer, how are you supposed to know he wasn't a police officer?" Fox said.
It's a scary thought for Fox, who is being a lot more cautious near her home lately.
"I try not to come outside too much at night unless my fiance's home," she said.
Just last Thursday, a woman says she was walking along the corner of Walker and Eve streets when a two-toned gold pickup truck pulled over, and the driver told her to get into the truck.
Lt. Blaise Dresser says, "He had a flip-style wallet, flipped it open and said he was an off-duty deputy or an off-duty police officer, and our victim indicates she saw a gold star badge."
The victim got in, but he didn't take her to jail. Instead he took her to a secluded area behind a park on Hicks Lane.
"It makes me nervous because it was right outside my house," Fox said.
Once they were out of clear view, deputies say the suspect told her to perform sexual acts. When she refused, he beat her with a handgun until she complied before he released her.
"I don't care if you're male or female, you shouldn't get in the car with someone you don't know, you shouldn't go home with somebody you don't know," Fox said.
But when someone claims to be a police officer, how can you be sure?
"If you're basing your trust on someone because they're showing you a badge, but they're not in any kind of uniform, and you don't really know for sure that's a police officer, you know, check," Dresser said.
Deputies say to go with your gut. If you think something is fishy, call 911 to verify an officer is who they say they are.
Deputies say they don't have any leads yet. They are searching for a two-tone 90s model pickup truck. The driver is a black, heavyset male in his 30s or 40s.
Deputies say he is about 6 feet tall and is bald and clean shaven. If you have any information on this case, you're asked to call the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.