Petaluma man arrested for impersonating officer

February 13, 2010 3:37:05 PM PST
A Petaluma man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of impersonating a police officer after he allegedly pulled over a female driver near Sonoma, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office said.

The 22-year-old woman was driving on Napa Road around 11 p.m. Feb. 2 when she was pulled over by an unmarked vehicle with a red light, Lt. Chris Spallino said.

A man not wearing a uniform then flashed what appeared to be a badge and asked her for identification, Spallino said.

The woman became uncomfortable and asked the man to have a marked vehicle respond. The man then became uncomfortable and drove away and the woman called police, Spallino said.

Detectives from the sheriff's office's violent crimes unit identified 29-year-old Benjamin Philip Cannon as a suspect. After the woman identified him as the man who pulled her over, Cannon was placed under surveillance, Spallino said.

Cannon was arrested Thursday at his residence in the 1100 block of East Sunnyslope Road for impersonating a police officer and false imprisonment, Spallino said.

Detectives seized Cannon's silver 2001 BMW and found a police scanner, strobe light, handcuffs and a siren inside, Spallino said. Cannon was booked into the Sonoma County jail and has since posted $10,000 bail.

Spallino said the woman's request for a marked car may have deterred the suspect and prevented a more serious incident. He said motorists in a similar situation should consider acknowledging the police vehicle and pull over in a safe location.

Anyone who may have has a similar encounter is asked to call detective James Naugle at (707) 565-2185.