San Mateo police are looking for a man who posed as a county sheriff’s deputy.
Surveillance video shows the man walking into the Safeway in the Crystal Springs Shopping Center about 9 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 24.
Employees say the man, dressed in a deputy’s uniform, claimed he was investigating a theft and demanded to speak to someone inside the store’s office, where the money is kept. An employee told the man that no theft had occurred and refused to let him inside the office.
"And that's when she panicked and said 'You know what, I'm just going to call the police,'" Safeway assistant manager Ricardo Garcia said of the employee. "And I think the outfit is what threw her off. It was too baggy."
San Mateo Police Sgt. Rick Decker credits the alert employee from preventing a crime.
"Certainly if someone wasn't paying close attention they might not have caught the discrepancies she caught and he could have carried out what his intentions were," Decker said.
The suspect left the store a short time later and was not found in the area when officers arrived on scene.
After reviewing the surveillance footage, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office says the man is not a deputy with the department. Police say the suspect could be connected to an attempted armed robbery on Nov. 18 at another Safeway on El Camino Real.
The suspect's uniform had San Mateo County Sheriff's patches on it, but the vest had a police patch on the back, according to Decker.
"He's set to exploit the every trust the public has in our uniform," Decker said.
Police continue to search for the suspect. Anyone who recognizes him is asked to contact San Mateo police.