Man who posed as San Mateo Sheriff’s deputy sought

Police are asking for the public’s help to identify a man who allegedly posed as a San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputy last month at a San Mateo grocery store, police announced this week.

On Nov. 24, around 9 p.m., police responded to a report of a suspicious person at a Safeway in the Crystal Springs Village Shopping Center at 100 De Anza Blvd., according to police.

A witness told officers that a man dressed in what appeared to be a San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office uniform and duty belt entered the store and said he was investigating a theft, police said. An employee told the suspect that no theft had occurred at the store. The suspect, however, insisted on interviewing an employee inside the store’s office, according to police. The employee started to become suspicious and continued to refuse the suspect’s request. The suspect then exited the store, police said.

A deputy arrived at the scene to assist officers. After viewing surveillance video, the deputy confirmed the suspect was not an employee with the Sheriff’s Office and that the office was not currently investigating a theft at the store, according to police.

Officers believe the incident may be connected to an attempted armed robbery at a different Safeway store in the city, located at 1655 El Camino Real, on Nov. 18, police said.

In that incident two men entered the store around 9:30 p.m. and physically detained a female employee and held her at gunpoint, demanding she open the store’s safe. When the suspects discovered that none of the store’s employees knew the combination to the safe, they fled without taking anything. Police have released surveillance images of the suspect from the Nov. 24 incident. He’s described as a white male in his mid 20s, 6 feet tall with a thin build. He was wearing dark-colored glasses and a baggy, Battle Dress Uniform with San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office shoulder patches, according to police.

Anyone with information about the identity of the suspect is asked to call (650) 522-7654 or (650) 522-7676.

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