A Texas man who impersonated a police officer to burglarize a home in western Bexar County on May 20 was arrested recently after being tracked down via a post on social media.
According to the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, the burglar, identified as 38-year-old Salvatore Alfieri, approached the home on Sheep Hair Street around 6 p.m. He was wearing a police vest, a blue shirt and blue ski mask, and convinced the woman who answered the door that he was a cop looking for “contraband.”
The intruder then took her and her teenage son’s cellphones so that they could not call the police. He then stole thousands of dollars in cash, personal items and a firearm. When the man left the house, the woman immediately called the sheriff’s office, still uncertain as to whether the man was a legitimate cop.
Sheriff Javier Salazar said that police tracked down Alfieri through the car-rental app Turo.
“What led us to him was that he was using a vehicle that he had rented through an app call Turo,” Salazar said in a statement. “He rented a car from an individual and by the look of it he used it just for this, so he didn’t have to use his own vehicle. But we were able to track him down fairly easily.”
Investigators then took to social media to post the identity of Alfieri and ask the public for information.
Sure enough, police received an online tip soon after making the post.
The sheriff’s office said that Alfieri will be charged with unlawful restraint, impersonating a police officer, burglary and interfering with 9-1-1 calls.
“What really rang the bells with me was that he was just so confident,” the sheriff said. “When he drove up, it wasn’t like he was looking for an address. He drove in and straight into the driveway, got out and walked up to the front door, really with some purpose. … He was very confident in his demeanor. Which led me to believe this is probably not the first time he has done this.”
Salazar said that he has encountered many crimes involving police impersonators. The trick is especially common among drug dealers.
“They’ll do this to each other quite frequently, and it is an unreported crime,” Salazar said. “We do have information that Alfieri had recently come into some money problems and he was looking for an easy score. So he hit this house that did have a large sum of cash. Thankfully, nobody was hurt in this case. However, we wanted to let the public know before the next one happens.”
Salazar advised residents to always ask those claiming to be police officers who are not in a properly marked vehicle to show identification, and to demand they show a warrant before letting them enter their home.
“It was a scary situation. I would certainly hate him to do this to another unsuspecting person that may be convinced enough by his little disguise to let him in,” Salazar said.