Suspect arrested in connection with fake traffic stops

Wednesday, March 23, 2011 | 12:37 p.m. CDT; updated 9:06 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, March 23, 2011

COLUMBIA — A man suspected of impersonating a police officer was arrested Wednesday morning. 

Zachary L. Rugen, 20, was pulled over at 11:04 Tuesday night by a Columbia police officer who noticed the car he was driving didn't have license plates, Columbia police spokeswoman Latisha Stroer said.


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Rugen matched the description of  a man who'd been reported to be impersonating a police officer. Police then searched his vehicle and found items related to the crimes, Stroer said. 

Several Columbia residents reported being pulled over by a man flashing his headlights since March 18. The man was described as dressed in plain clothing and claiming to be a DEA agent. The man then asked the drivers for their licenses and insurance information.

One victim reported the man had a gun holstered on his belt but didn't display it while another said the man "pulled a handgun and ordered him from the car," police said. 

The man successfully pulled over three vehicles and attempted to pull over another. 

Rugen is being held on $10,500 bond on three counts of false impersonation of a law enforcement officer, felonious restraint and second-degree assault, police said. 


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