ALBUQUERQUE, NM – June 2010 – Tony Romero admits to wearing a badge. He admits to wearing a gun. He admits that driving a Crown Victoria cruiser with a spotlight and push bumper gives the impression he is a cop. But Tony Romero claims he never told anyone he was an officer. Apparently Metropolitan Court Judge Rachel Walker agreed when she dismissed all charges against him.
The Sheriff’s Department felt otherwise when they arrested him in April of 2010. Deputies reported that Romero pulled up to a woman’s home in what she described as an unmarked police car to repossess a car with a gun on his hip and a badge around his neck. The owner of the car reported to officers that Romero identified himself as an officer and said that if she did not turn the car over, he would arrest her.
As soon as Romero left, the woman called the Sheriff’s Office.
“I said you know you look like a cop and that’s what people think and he said absolutely I know that that’s what they think. An officer of the law is not going to repossess your car,” reported Detective Brandon Blackmon with the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department.
Romero reportedly told detectives that he’d been wearing the badge and gun for the last few months so people don’t think he is stealing the cars he is trying to repossess, but that he has never claimed to be an officer.
“Even if he’s not saying I’m with the police department or the sheriff’s department he knows what he is doing, he knows he is giving that impression,” said Detective Blackmon.
“We’ve had a few of these lately, we’ve had a few people that can get a fake badge, or they can get a ray jacket or a plain white Crown Vic that looks like a cop car, don’t just assume,” said Detective Blackmon.
Original story by Amanda Goodman KRQE News