Canyon Lake man arrested for impersonating a peace officer, false imprisonment

Photos provided by the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

A 70-year-old Canyon Lake man was arrested on suspicion of impersonating a peace officer and false imprisonment.

On Thursday, March 7, deputies from the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station’s Special Enforcement Team assumed an investigation related to a subject impersonating a peace officer by conducting a traffic stop within the Canyon Lake community while driving a vehicle similar to a police sedan.

The traffic stop, conducted on Longhorn Drive, appeared suspicious to bystanders and prompted several of them to stop and intervene. While one bystander videotaped the incident, another called 911. The suspect fled the scene upon realizing that the police were being contacted.

Video surveillance captured by a bystander showed the suspect conducting a traffic stop using a white Ford Crown Victoria sedan with emergency lights affixed to his car.

During the traffic stop, the suspect showed the victim a badge in which the victim recognized the words “Agent” and “California,” according to Captain Rayls of the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station.

The suspect was identified as Steven Sawhill. Deputies located a badge and other identification cards determined to be fraudulent in Sawhill’s possession, according to the sheriff’s department.

Sawhill was arrested and charged with impersonating a peace officer, false imprisonment, and vehicle code violations related to possession of emergency lights.

Anyone who has been a victim of similar circumstances is asked to contact Deputy Stacey at 951-245-3300. 


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