NORMAN, Okla. - Norman police officers are looking for a man they think is impersonating one of their own.
They say a liquor store employee, acting as an undercover sheriff's deputy, detained a teenager for hours after he tried to buy alcohol at a Norman liquor store.
The owner of that liquor store insisted what happened between one of his employees and the teenager was not criminal.
The owner of Last Call Liquor says, “That’s ridiculous. That doesn’t make any sense.”
The store’s owner did not want to give us his name but says a 19-year-old was caught trying to buy liquor. He says one of his employees gave him the option of calling the police or his parents, and that's it.
“He had no gun, he had no Taser, he had no badge,” says the owner. “I don’t know how you impersonate a cop without those things.”
But police officers believe differently. They say the employee identified himself as Sgt. Williams with Cleveland County.
The man told the victim’s parents that if they did not bring $200 to the liquor store, the victim would be taken to jail.
Captain Tom Easley says, “Bologna, it doesn’t work like that.”
But still, the victim's parents rushed to the liquor store to pay.
“He had it down pretty slick,” says Captain Easley.
They told police this man knew exactly what to say to make the victim think he was the real deal.
Police say they are looking for more victims.
The store's owner is calling it a witch hunt.
“There’s no record of anything ever happening besides this one time when there was an incident and from what I understand the kid got off pretty good,” says the store’s owner.
Bill Collard is a former police officer and laughed at the thought of law enforcement having the authority to collect money on the streets.
“I’m a parent too. My children have never been in that kind of trouble but if they had been I would back them up,” says Collard. “I would have backed them up all the way to jail if that was necessary.”
Charges have not been filed against the employee. Investigators say they are building their case with more possible victims.
They are looking to charge him with impersonating a police officer and kidnapping for extortion.
They say if you were caught in this "shake down", they aren't after you. They just want to talk.
Investigators also wanted to remind everyone that Cleveland County sheriff's deputies, or any member of law enforcement, does not have the authority to collect money outside of a court proceeding.
If you are a victim or have information regarding this crime you are encouraged to contact the Norman Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division at 405-366-5235.