The California Highway Patrol arrested a Modesto man Tuesday who they say used a siren to pull over another driver while wearing a Halloween mask.
About 9 a.m., a man was driving near Paradise and South Carpenter roads when a man behind him in a black-and-white Crown Victoria, which turned out to be a retired police car, switched on a siren and tried to pull him over, said CHP officer Bryce Disch.
The man pulled to the side of the road. He looked back and noticed that the man in the car behind him was wearing a Halloween mask, so he used his cellular phone to call 911. When the masked man noticed the victim was making a call, he sped away, Disch said. It was not clear what the Halloween mask looked like.
The victim pursued the masked man through the Carpenter and Chicago Avenue area, but the man sped through stop signs and drove erratically, so the victim ended the chase.
After the CHP got the report, an officer remembered that a retired police vehicle had showed up in his neighborhood within the last month. Officers went to the 1400 block of Harris Avenue, just north of Paradise, to investigate, Disch said.
Officers found the car and its owner, Jose Luis Villano, 37, who admitted to the CHP he used the siren to pull over the other driver, Disch said.
"He said he wanted to slow him down," Disch added.
The CHP found the mask, siren and numerous law enforcement items, such as a badge and handcuffs, in Villano's car. Disch said Villano had been a security guard but no longer was. Villano was arrested on suspicion of impersonating a peace officer, driving on a suspended license and reckless driving. His bail was set at $1,020 but he was released from Stanislaus County Jail Tuesday afternoon because his charges were misdemeanors, said deputy Royjindar Singh, Stanislaus County sheriff's spokesman.
"He had no business having security equipment," Disch said.
The CHP asks anyone who may have been pulled over under similar circumstances near Paradise and South Carpenter roads to call officers Tom Killian or Disch at 545-7440.
Bee staff writer Emilie Raguso can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2235.