DENVER (CBS4) – “So scary to think about. I can’t even imagine what he had planned,” said metro resident Katie Pennell.
People in downtown Denver had a lot to say after the arrest of alleged police impersonator Robert Montoya.
“That person had plans to do something heinous,” Jeff Johnson told CBS4’s Tom Mustin.
Denver police say on Sept. 5, the 47-year-old had been driving a Chevy Impala outfitted with blue and white lights, a scanner on the dash and a laptop mounted on a stand. On Interstate 25 near the Mousetrap Montoya allegedly tried to pull over a car. That vehicle turned out to be an unmarked police car with a real Denver detective inside.
The detective called police dispatch and real officers arrested Montoya on Blake street.
“Very lucky for us, very unlucky for this individual,” said Cmdr. Paul Pazen.
Pazen told CBS4 that inside the car, along with police gear, detectives found handcuffs.
Officers believe the attempted arrest may have simply been a trial run for something more sinister in the future.
“To go through this much effort to outfit a vehicle to make it look like a police vehicle, a vehicle an officer might use to pull someone over, is very concerning for us,” said Pazen.
Pennell says had she been pulled over by the bogus cop she wouldn’t have hesitated to stop.
“It wouldn’t even go through my mind that he was impersonating a cop. I would think he’s legitimate. So scary,” she said.
Montoya is facing felony charges for impersonating an officer. In addition, a new city ordinance gives Denver police the ability to crush the suspect’s car and destroy all the gear inside of it — something Pazen says the department will be happy to take care of.
As detectives try to figure out a motive for this disturbing crime, Pennell says she believes “fate” may have prevented further headlines.
”We’re really lucky he pulled over an undercover cop and got busted.“