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Teen charged with impersonating a police officer, deputies say

Deputies stopped the teen as he was attempting to stop a car near the South Carolina, North Carolina state line.
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YORK COUNTY, S.C. — A teen in York County is in custody after deputies said he impersonated a police officer.

The York County Sheriff's Office responded to multiple calls about being stopped by a black Dodge Charger with red and blue strobe lights in the area of North Highway 161 near Battleground Road on both Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Deputies said they stopped the teen as he was trying to stop a car near the South Carolina and North Carolina state line Sunday.

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The teen was wearing a police-style ballistic vest and law enforcement-style belt with handcuffs and a holster containing an airsoft plastic pistol with the orange safety tip painted black, deputies said.

 When asked by deputies why he was stopping cars, the teen said, "For the fun of it."

The teen admitted to deputies that he stopped at least six different cars in the area of North Hwy. 161 and Battleground Road, according to deputies. One victim told deputies the teen accused them of driving 120 mph.

"Traffic stops can be one of the most unpredictable and dangerous aspects of a police officer's duties," York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson said. "We’re thankful no one was hurt, especially this young man. Our deputies explained to the juvenile the seriousness of his actions and how dangerous his behavior could be."

Edward Watts lives in York and said the case puts him on edge.

"What really disturbs me about it is the fact that if you have a young woman out there, you never know what’s going to happen," Watts said. “It’s a crying shame that people have to go to that extreme to try to get a little publicity. Why?”

While deputies say cases like this are uncommon in the area, there are some signs to watch for and steps to take.

“Law enforcement is blue lights and fire departments are red lights. We don't do them both together," YCSO public information officer Trent Faris said. “One: Call 9-1-1. The dispatchers will confirm to you whether, yes or no, that is a deputy who was making the traffic stop. Two: Go park in a well-lit, well-populated area, like a parking lot of a convenience store or something, just for your own safety.”

The juvenile was petitioned to family court and taken to the Department of Juvenile Justice in Columbia, South Carolina, deputies said.

Contact Kayland Hagwood at khagwood@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookX and Instagram.

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