El Segundo police arrested a Del Rey man Sunday, December 30th, they allege has been posing as a police officer.
John Smith Jr., 28, was arrested in the 900 block of Main Street, said Sgt. Danny Kim of the El Segundo Police Department.
Smith was in possession of a loaded concealed handgun, a Glock 17, a functional fold-down forward-facing red light attached to the passenger side sun visor, white amber grill lights, four corner strobe lights, and a two-way radio and a scanner. Police also found a black Taser gun and a shotgun.
Smith was sitting in his car, a 1998 Ford Taurus, when police arrested him at approximately 1:10 a.m. The car had collision damage to a bumper and did not have any license plates, although officers say they found a set of plates in the vehicle.
Officers also discovered security guard business cards labeled “Metro Mid-City Public Safety” in Smith’s car. A metal badge and a black polo shirt with a cloth badge on the front and patches on the shoulders that displayed the same name were also found.
In addition, there was a citation book labeled “Notice of Violation,” with blank boxes where information such as date, time, vehicle license plate and locations are written. Parking violations were imprinted on the citations.
At the bottom of the citation, there were instructions that read: “YOU ARE HEREBY ADVISED THAT YOU HAVE 30 DAYS TO PAY THE RELATED FINES. SEND CHECK OR MONEY ORDER TO ONLY : METRO MID-CITY PUBLIC SAFETY INC. 13428 MAXELLA AVE #184 MARINA DEL REY, CA 90292 310-638-7822.
El Segundo police said in a statement that Smith may have impersonated a peace officer on prior occasions with this vehicle, and/or may have been unlawfully writing phony parking tickets to citizens instructing them to send money to him.
Officers said Smith claimed that Metro Mid-City Public Safety is a company responsible for patrolling several housing units in Los Angeles, employing 15 to 20 officers. He also allegedly stated that the vehicle was a company car, but Department of Motor Vehicles records show him as the registered owner, according to police.
Calls to the Marina del Rey number listed on the citation book went unanswered.
“We’re still investigating this matter,” Lt. Robert Turnbull, commander of the investigative division of the El Segundo Police Department, told The Argonaut. “We’re still trying to determine if this is a good business.”
Metro Mid-City Public Safety Inc. is not listed as a corporation on the California Secretary of State’s Web site. All corporations that do business in California must be registered with the Secretary of State.
Smith was released on $25,000 bail with a notice to appear in court at a later date, Turnbull said.
Anyone who has information on this case or needs further information, is asked to call Detective Armando Rodriguez, (310) 524-2258, or Sgt. Danny Kim, (310) 524-2261.