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4 N.C. men arrested for posing as police during robbery

By Samiha Khanna, Staff Writer
The News & Observer

DURHAM- Police captured four men suspected of impersonating police officers to rob several men early Sunday.

At 10:38 a.m. Sunday, police were called to 1008 Carpenter Fletcher Road to check out a report of suspicious males with guns. When officers arrived, they saw three men running into the woods behind a house.

Officers S.G. Chabotte, A.C. Rogers and M.B. Grady chased the suspects and caught them. A fourth man, who was sitting in a parked dark blue Dodge Durango, also was arrested.

Though none of the suspects was armed when police stopped them, Lt. Howard Alexander of the Durham Police Department said police found two handguns belonging to the suspects, according to police spokeswoman Kammie Michael.

Police were told at the scene that two men were standing outside the Carpenter Fletcher Road house when the Dodge Durango pulled into the driveway and four men armed with guns jumped out. The men were wearing shirts with “POLICE” printed on them and badges around their necks, according to the police report.

The two men, in their late 30s and early 40s, told police that the suspects forced them into a garage and handcuffed them. They then forced the victims into the house and put plastic bags over their heads. The suspects ransacked the house, then fled. The victims were treated at the scene for minor injuries.

Officer T.M. Tanner and his police dog found two guns, fake police badges and several other items near the victims’ house.

Charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, first-degree kidnapping and impersonating a police officer were: Alexis D. Morillo, 23, of Reading, Pa.; Gabriele Pabon, 39, of Corona, N.Y.; Roberto Lopez, 23, of Woodcroft Parkway in Durham; and Lameck L. Staton, 23, of Reading, Pa.

Investigators don’t think the victims knew the suspects.

Investigators were preparing to serve a search warrant on the Carpenter Fletcher home, a process that might give them more insight into a possible motive, Alexander said.

The warrant, however, had not been executed and returned late Sunday.

Copyright 2006 The News and Observer