Fake Cop Busted With Squad Car And Gear, Police Say
A Fort Smith man was arrested after police say he kept approaching people while pretending to be a police officer, complete with a police car and gear.
Zachary Frost Markowitz, 28, drove what appeared to be a retired police car and wore police clothing and gear, police said.
Markowitz was arrested in connection with felony first-degree criminal impersonation, which could carry up to six years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines, said Sgt. Daniel Grubbs with the Fort Smith Police Department.
“He wouldn’t never do anything like that because he knows what’s right and what’s wrong,” said Amber Smith, Markowitz’s girlfriend. “The police have been harassing him for a couple months now because he drives a car that looks like a police car.”
Fort Smith police say Markowitz told people he was an undercover officer.
“All these people out of good faith thought this might be legitimate,” said Sgt. Grubbs. “I can see where any citizen could easily confuse that with you know a legitimate law enforcement officer.”
After conducting surveillance on Markowitz, officers searched his home and found police duty belts and tactical gear, clothing, pouches, handcuffs, security badges, law enforcement patches, portable radios and an amber-colored emergency light, according to the Fort Smith Police Department.
“In the past taken batons that he would be carrying, pepper spray,” said Sgt. Grubbs.
Police say Markowitz would even sometimes show up on calls. “A lot of his reasoning has not been given. We actually tried to interview him,” said Sgt. Grubbs.
Smith admits her boyfriend has a security guard badge. “He wears it sometimes. It’s not. He don’t try to act like a police officer whenever he wears it,” she said.
Smith claims Markowitz stops to help people who are broken down, but says he has never pulled anyone over. “He’s a good person and all I’ve ever seen him do is try to help people,” said Markowitz.
Markowitz remained in the Sebastian County Detention Center on Thursday on $5,000 bond.