HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla — The Hillsborough County Sheriff says a man has been arrested for impersonating an officer and sexually battering multiple women. Officers are also asking any additional victims to come forward.
Justin Evans, 35, was originally facing six charges including impersonating a public officer, sexual battery on a victim over 18, grand theft third degree, kidnapping, and two counts of false imprisonment.
The sheriff says on Monday, August 9, 2021, Evans followed a vehicle with three women from the Bull Market convenience store located at 13742 N 42nd Street in Tampa and pulled them over. His Chevrolet Malibu was equipped with LED lights mounted to the dashboard.
The victim pulled into the Willow Brook Apartments located at 14417 Hellenic Drive. Evans, who was wearing dark clothing, approached the vehicle and claimed he was a law enforcement officer conducting a narcotics investigation. All three victims were ordered out of the vehicle and told to put their hands on the hood while Evans searched their bodies.
Evans advised one of the women, a 27-year-old black female, that she was under arrest. He tied her hands behind her back with a zip tie then placed her in the backseat of his car. Evans drove the victim to a nearby apartment complex where she was sexually battered inside his vehicle.
Evans later drove the victim back near the location where he initially stopped her and let her out of his car. The victim called HCSO to report the rape.
Later around 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, August 10, Evans was located driving on Bruce B Downs Blvd in Wesley Chapel (Pasco County).
After realizing he was being followed, Evans left his car and ran on foot into a wooded area where deputies arrested him. Evans is currently being held in the Pasco County Jail.
"It's extremely upsetting and concerning to think that someone was taking advantage of the trust our citizens have in law enforcement by pretending to be a law enforcement officer,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “Sexually battering a victim in the process heightened our urgency to find and arrest this suspect as quickly as possible. We need to find anyone who may have seen this vehicle or been stopped by this suspect. Please, don't be afraid to come forward if you've been victimized.”
Evans' vehicle is described as a blue 2016 Chevrolet Malibu with Missouri tag XD7X5J. Anyone who believes they may have been stopped by Evans is asked to call the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office at 813-247-8200.
As the investigation into Justin Evans, 35 was underway, detectives say he was found to be connected to another incident on the same day he pulled over the three women in Tampa. The second incident happened around 9 a.m. on August 9, when a female victim and her seven-year-old child were traveling in the area of Brooks Street North and Busch Boulevard East.
According to the sheriff's office, the woman noticed a dark-colored Chevy Malibu with white and orange flashing lights behind her. Video surveillance captured the incident and Evans can be seen driving the car and conducting a fake traffic stop. Evans approached the victim while wearing a vest and hat with the word “Police” on it. The suspect removed the victim from the vehicle and searched her. He then left the area.
The victim did not report the incident at the time. Later on August 12, 2021, the victim saw the press release relating to the investigation into Evans and recognized him as the one who stopped her.
The victim reported this to the Tampa Police Department. HCSO then took over the investigation. Evans is facing additional charges for battery, impersonating a public officer, and false imprisonment (x2).
"It is clear that Evans has no respect for the law," said Sheriff Chad Chronister. "We will continue to investigate to ensure he is held accountable for all of his crimes. Anyone who believes they may be a victim of Evans' disgusting behavior is asked to call HCSO at (813) 247-8200."
See the video of Evans arrest below: