On Thursday, January 30, 2014, at approximately 10:30 PM, a woman was driving north on Highway #13 from the Marion area.

The woman reported that what appeared to be a dark colored vehicle with a set of red and blue flashing lights attempted to stop her near Burnett Station Road, approximately four miles south of Central City.  Believing that she was being stopped by a legitimate law enforcement officer in an unmarked patrol car, the woman pulled over and stopped.

A man dressed in a dark coat, wearing black gloves and a black ski mask exited his vehicle and approached hers. The man then displayed what appeared to be a black handgun and demanded money from the woman. Being in fear for her life, the woman gave him money, at which point the man backed away from her vehicle.  She then sped away from the scene and called 911 to alert law enforcement as to what had occurred.

The woman was unable to provide the suspect’s race or facial characteristics because he wore a ski mask during the incident, but described him as being approximately 5’-10” tall and weighing approximately 200 pounds. The direction of travel of the suspect’s vehicle after this incident is unknown.

At this time, this appears to be an isolated incident.  Anyone who was in the area and may have witnessed this incident is requested to contact the Linn County Sheriff’s Office at 319-398-3911.


Although the Linn County Sheriff’s Office and other area law enforcement agencies have plain clothed deputies and officers who drive unmarked police vehicles, they will not approach a vehicle wearing a ski mask.  Their patrol cars will typically have more than just one set of flashing emergency lights.  This may include alternating headlamps and emergency lights located both behind the grill and in the dash/visor area of the vehicle.  These vehicles are also typically equipped with sirens.

Anytime a person is unsure of the identity of an operator of what appears to be an unmarked patrol vehicle who is attempting to pull them over, those drivers are encouraged to slow down and activate their vehicle’s hazard lights (indicating that they see the emergency vehicle) and drive to a well-lit area before stopping.  They can also call 911 to speak with an emergency dispatcher to check to see if the vehicle attempting to stop them is truly being operated by a law enforcement officer.  True law enforcement officers will be able to present a badge in addition to a department-issued identification card.



Brian D. Gardner

Linn County Sheriff