Carjacking by men impersonating police officers raises safety concerns near Memphis hotel

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A group of criminals pretending to be police officers and robbing travelers at a hotel in broad daylight has many questioning their safety and who they can trust.

The 26-page report FOX13 requested on the crime details the victims and what was stolen, but does not share details on how the carjackers impersonated police.

According to the Memphis Police Department (MPD), six men in two different cars approached people about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Hilton Hotel on Ridge Lake Boulevard in East Memphis.

MPD tweeted out a public safety announcement informing citizens of the imposter’s activities.

A person who was at the hotel when it happened told FOX13 the robbers were wearing police uniforms and carrying AR-15s.

The police reports contains images of the five victims bruised and scraped after the carjacking. One has a bandage wrapped around his head. According to the report, they were visiting from New York and Pennsylvania.

“It’s scary, very scary,” Kailyn Matthews, a hostess at a restaurant near the Hilton, said. “Who wants to go to work and worry about getting robbed or killed or something?”

Matthews said she has seen coworkers and customers alike experience carjackings and break-ins in the area, to the extent that her restaurant hired its own security guard.

Security vehicles can be seen patrolling near the hotel, but they were not enough to deter the police impersonators from stealing a BMW X5 in broad daylight, as well as stealing its passengers luggage, jewelry, watches and cell phones.

Matthews said after the crime, she doesn’t know who to trust.

“It makes me hesitant to open my doors to police officers,” she said.

Guests at the Hilton told FOX13 watching the victims shamble into the hotel to contact police after the robbery was a shocking sight, especially at a luxury hotel where rooms cost more than $150 a night.

For those who spend time in the upscale part of town where the robbery happened, it is a reminder that nowhere is safe.

“Every time I get out of the car, I keep my head on a swivel, because you don’t know who is out there,” Frederick Patterson, who shops at the Target near the Hilton, said. “The way Memphis is now, you’ve got to watch your surroundings and watch where you are because there are no safe areas in Memphis.”

FOX13 visited the hotel numerous times in hopes of speaking to a manager but crews were told none were available.

If you know who these men are or anything about this crime, the Memphis Police Department urges you to call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.

Any information which leads to an arrest, in this case, could be worth up to $2,000.