HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — A Florida man was taken into custody this week as law enforcement officials say he impersonated a police officer as part of a ruse to pull over, kidnap, and rape a woman.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office arrested Justin Evans, 35, on Tuesday. He’s been booked on several felonies, which include impersonating a public officer, sexual battery on a victim over 18, kidnapping, third-degree grand theft, and false imprisonment, according to the sheriff’s office.
The agency provided the following overview in a press release:
Just before midnight on Monday, August 9, 2021, Evans began following a vehicle with three adult females from the Bull Market convenience store located at 13742 N 42nd Street in Tampa. Shortly after, he pulled the victim’s vehicle over on 42nd Street. Evans’ 2016 Chevrolet Malibu was equipped with LED lights believed to be mounted to the dashboard according to the victim.
The victim pulled into the Willow Brook Apartments located at 14417 Hellenic Drive. Evans, who was wearing dark clothing, approached the vehicle and identified himself as a law enforcement officer conducting a narcotics investigation. All three victims were ordered out of the vehicle and told to put their hands on the hood while Evans searched their bodies. Evans advised one of the women, a 27-year-old black female, that she was under arrest. He tied her hands behind her back with a zip tie then placed her in the backseat of his car. Evans drove the victim to a nearby apartment complex where she was sexually battered inside his vehicle.
Evans later drove the victim back near the location where he initially stopped her and let her out of his car. The victim called HCSO to report the rape.
At approximately 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 10, Evans was located driving the same Chevrolet Malibu identified by the victim on Bruce B Downs Blvd in Wesley Chapel (Pasco County). After realizing he was being followed, Evans fled his vehicle on foot into a wooded area where he was arrested by deputies. His arrest was recorded on camera by the HCSO Aviation Unit. Evans is currently being held in the Pasco County Jail.
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“It’s extremely upsetting and concerning to think that someone was taking advantage of the trust our citizens have in law enforcement by pretending to be a law enforcement officer,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said in a statement. “Sexually battering a victim in the process heightened our urgency to find and arrest this suspect as quickly as possible. We need to find anyone who may have seen this vehicle or been stopped by this suspect. Please, don’t be afraid to come forward if you’ve been victimized.”
Evans was booked at the Pasco County Jail, Law & Crime reported. He is currently being held without bond.