NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio (WJW) – A 41-year-old Lorain County man is accused of impersonating a police officer outside a local Walmart store and then “aggressively following” a man who told police he feared for his life.
According to a North Olmsted police report, on Tuesday, Jan. 23 at about 1:30 p.m., officers were called to the Walmart on Brookpark Road for a report of a traffic altercation.
A man in the parking lot told police that while he was sitting in his Black 2020 BMW, he noticed another man taking a video of his missing rear license plate. The victim told police the suspect was wearing a police uniform sweater, dress pants, and a brown overcoat, so he rolled down his window to speak with him. According to the report, the suspect approached the driver-side window, similar to how a police officer would conduct a traffic stop, and then started yelling at the victim about the missing license plate and said, “You’re going to go to jail.”
The victim told police he felt the interaction was escalating, and he believed the individual he was speaking to was “not a real police officer” so he attempted to leave the Walmart parking lot.
That’s when the suspect, identified as Seth Adams, 41, of Grafton, “charged” towards the
moving BMW on foot and then jumped a Silver Volkswagen Jetta and began following the victim at a high rate of speed with orange flashing lights in his front windshield, according to the police report.
According to the report, Adams came very close to striking the victim’s vehicle. The situation lasted “several minutes” until the victim was able to get away and call police.
While police were speaking with the victim, officers were able to track down the suspect, who they reported was wearing a leather belt with several live rounds of .22 caliber ammunition. According to the report, the ammunition was “prominently displayed along the length of the belt.” In addition, in Adams’ wallet, officers said they found, a badge-shaped coin similar to how a police officer’s badge would typically be displayed.
According to police, the vehicle Adams was driving had a license plate that had been altered and the vehicle’s VIN on the dashboard had been partially covered a playing card, and a Cleveland Police Patrolman’s association card.
“It was noted by officers on scene that there were no other pieces of paper anywhere else on the dashboard and that the placement of the cards over the vin appeared to be intentional,” read the report.
Adams was then transported to the North Olmsted Police Department, where officers continued to question him. According to the report, officers were permitted to review the video Adams had recorded on his phone and found that during the pursuit of the BMW, Adams could be heard “advising the open air of the vehicle speeds similar to the manner that a police pursuit would
be called out.”
Adams told police that he initially started recording the BMW because he is a fan of the car style and was not aware that anyone was inside the vehicle until the driver gave him “the middle finger.” Adams said he did try to notify the man of the missing rear license plate. He then told police that he moved his car two parking spots over but was approached by the BMW which then “took off” at a high rate of speed.
Adams followed with his phone recording and the dashboard lights activated, according to the report.
Adams told police he was looking for his other phone to inform law enforcement of the BMW’s reckless driving. However, officers note in the report that they were not contacted by Adams.
Adams also told officers he had purchased the light bar in case he came across any disabled motorists who needed help and said he activated the light in this scenario to warn other traffic that the BMW was coming.
Adams was booked into the jail and charged with the following:
ORC.4549.62 Alteration of a VIN, a felony of the 5th degree.
ORC. 2923.24 Possessing Criminal tools, a misdemeanor of the first degree.
ORC. 2921.51(B) Impersonation of a peace officer, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
ORC. 2903.22 Menacing, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.