An embarrassed Berlin police force is being grilled over the arrest of a woman who repeatedly posed as a police officer, reports Berliner Morgenpost.
Questions are being asked as to how the suspect, identified as “K”, was able to possess an authentic uniform, truncheon, handcuffs, pepper spray, fake weapon and police insignia and badge – items she claims to have purchased for between €3,000 and €4,000.
The 22-year-old woman insists she helped police apprehend criminals and accompanied them in their vehicles on numerous occasions.
The fake policewoman, wearing authentic uniform and carrying equipment apparently belonging to the force, was arrested a week ago when officers found her suspicious-looking because she was wearing the full kit, complete with jacket, despite the summer heat.
In her first interview for the newspaper, the suspect confessed the outfit had been her undoing.
“K” claims to have helped real police officers apprehend criminals and break up fights, as she cited an April incident in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz when hundreds of young men arrived to defend two feuding YouTubers. The violent fight that ensued sparked a large police turnout, and “K” claims to have helped them take down details of those apprehended.
It has not been possible to verify any of the details.
After already spending 14 months behind bars, convicted for unauthorised assumption of authority, the woman, who also had amphetamines found on her, claims she is determined to continue “trying to help people”.
“I still want to continue ... I don’t have any bad intentions,” the Berlin daily quotes the woman, who also has a previous conviction for sexual abuse.
Without offering any details, the woman added that that was the main impediment to her joining the police force.
“K” claimed she was so well-known to the police after being caught on previous occasions that they would often let her go with just a verbal caution.
There has not been a comment from the Berlin police force so far, besides confirmation that the woman had been arrested.
The news comes as tourists visiting Berlin are currently being warned to remain alert and steer clear of thieves masquerading as police.
The latter typically ask to search tourists’ bags only to steal wallets and phones.
This February dozens of con artists were arrested in Turkey for pretending to be police officers in order to steal from Germans. The swindlers telephoned German pensioners, persuaded them to reveal their bank details and subsequently stole hundreds of thousands of euros.
The crime syndicate which worked out of the Turkish cities of Izmir, Denizli, and Istanbul, is believed to have stolen at least €780,000 ($879,000) from 63 German pensioners.
For months, city and state police forces have been warning residents to be on the alert for calls from con artists claiming to be from the security services.