Woman says her fake cop act was prank, laughs it off in court

An accused police impersonator laughed in court Tuesday as she faced a judge. Quitina Helms, 38, is facing serious charges after telling police she was just trying to pull a prank.

Police in Gwinnett, Georgia, said Helms was wearing a T-shirt with the word "police" on the front and back when she demanded four victims give her their IDs and forced them to sit on the curb in a neighborhood off Jimmy Carter Boulevard early Sunday morning.

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The victims said that, when the woman could not show them a badge, they became suspicious.

"She shined a light inside the vehicles. She asked them to get out of the vehicle, asked them to sit on the curb, asked them to not talk, and she also asked them for names and identification so she could check for possible warrants," said Cpl. Michele Pihera, of the Gwinnett County Police Department.

After about 20 minutes, police said, one of the victims jumped into Helms' car and drove off. Others called 911.

Police arrived a few minutes later and found Helms nearby.

Residents who live in front of where the incident happened said they saw all the activity but had no idea an alleged impersonator was involved.

"I came out here and she was talking to a police officer," resident Charles Seiple said.

"She said she was doing it as a prank," Pihera said.

Helms apparently still thought it was funny as she appeared in court Tuesday. She kept trying to hide her face from the camera and laughed several times.

"Your bond is $22,000," the judge told Helms.

"I don't know if her motivations were to eventually tell the victims that this was a prank and this was just a joke, but this was very serious," Pihera said.

Police charged Helms with impersonating an officer and false imprisonment. Both are felonies.

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