CHANTILLY, Va. - A Fairfax County man who authorities said impersonated an officer and placed a driver “under arrest” was taken into custody by real police officers Wednesday evening.
Fairfax County police said they responded to the scene of a crash at Lee Jackson Memorial Highway and Elmwood Street in Chantilly at about 5:45 p.m.
When police arrived at the scene, an officer immediately noticed one of the drivers involved in the crash was in handcuffs and appeared to be under arrest.
The officer spoke with 33-year-old Arta Javanbakhtamarlouei of Centreville who said he placed one of the other drivers in handcuffs because he felt threatened by the way the driver was acting, according to officials.
According to police, Javanbakhtamarlouei pulled up on the scene and identified himself as a police officer to the drivers involved in the crash. Authorities said Javanbakhtamarlouei was wearing a gray tank top with black pants and a black utility belt which had a holster for a firearm and several pouches for officer-related items such as handcuffs, firearm magazines and more.
Javanbakhtamarlouei told the officer he had completed an eight-hour criminal justice course and was authorized to arrest people, according to officials.
Police said he also had a wallet that held two badges, one a concealed weapon badge and the other a private investigator badge. According to officials, the concealed weapon badge was purchased online and the private investigator badge was allegedly obtained from a previous security officer job, but he had not worked in the security field for more than four years.
Javanbakhtamarlouei allegedly told officers he obtained all of the items for the utility belt online and that the firearm in the holster was a BB gun.
Javanbakhtamarlouei spoke with FOX 5's Tisha Lewis and stood by his right to make what he described as a citizen's arrest. He also told FOX 5 this was not his first time making what he described as a citizen's arrest.
“It’s not fair and that was wrongly accused against me. I was working for the security company for three years and I was the best employee over there,” Javanbakhtamarlouei told FOX 5.
FIRST ON FOX: Northern Virginia man accused of impersonating police officer says he was performing "citizen's arrest." He reportedly handcuffed driver involved in a crash. He also was wearing badges and had a gun... he says was an air gun. #va pic.twitter.com/E8DfP1rlUx— Tisha Lewis FOX 5 DC (@TishaLewis) May 11, 2018
Javanbakhtamarlouei was arrested and faces charges of impersonating a law enforcement officer.
“The problem therein lies that he’s identifying himself as a law enforcement officer with the gun belt, flashing badges and telling people verbally that is a police officer and that’s where the violation of impersonating a police officer comes into play,” Sgt. Aaron Pfeiff with the Fairfax County Police Department said.
Authorities offered the following tips to help identify an officer impersonator:
- Ask for the officer's credentials.
- Officers should always introduce themselves and advise what agency they work for.
- Observe the officer’s uniform patches and verify it is the agency they told you.
- Be familiar with the police cruiser markings in your jurisdiction to help identify their authenticity.
Police urged residents who feel uncomfortable to call 911 to help verify the identity of an officer.