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Fake 'Officer Franklin' Caught, Charged with Impersonating Cop, Police Say

By Emily Morris | October 9, 2013 7:17am
 James Blackman, 46, of the 6400 block of South Morgan Street.
James Blackman, 46, of the 6400 block of South Morgan Street.
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Chicago Police Department

CHICAGO — Police said they've caught a man who has been pretending to be a cop so he could rob people at gunpoint.

James Blackman, 46, was charged with three counts of armed robbery, five counts of impersonating a police officer, one count of aggravated robbery and one count of aggravated kidnapping, according to police.

Police did not give details as to which incidents Blackman was charged in.

Police said in a community alert last month that in two similar South Side robberies, a man driving an SUV pulled over to talk to someone standing on a sidewalk and said he was "Officer Franklin" or "Agent Franklin" before he convinced the victim to get into his car "under the guise of a criminal investigation."

He would then drive a short distance away, park the car, point a handgun and rob the victim, police said. The suspect, described as bald black man between the age of 40 to 50 with sideburns that turn into a goatee or mustache, wasn't wearing a police uniform and did not present credentials, police said.

Those robberies happened in the 7700 block of South Colfax Avenue in South Shore about 3 p.m. on Sept. 15 and in the 8100 block of South Paxton Avenue in South Chicago about 2:10 p.m. on Sept. 24, according to police.

In a similar incident, a man who went by "Officer Franklin" told a 41-year-old man to get into his SUV about 11:10 a.m. on Sept 28. in the 7000 block of South Justine Street in West Englewood, police said.

The robber drove the car to the 8000 block of South Oakley Avenue and robbed the man of cash, police said. A gun was not shown in that incident, according to cops.

Blackman, of the 6400 block of South Morgan Street, is expected to appear in bond court on Wednesday.