Kareem Hart Credit: Photo via Montgomery County police

Montgomery County police say a Prince George’s County man on Saturday pretended to be a police officer at a shopping center in White Oak and coerced a driver to give him money using a mobile application.

Kareem Hart, 24, of District Heights, was driving a Nissan Versa with a yellow flashing light and markings that indicated the vehicle was from Allied Security, a private security company. Hart was wearing a security uniform, police said.

Police said they received a call around 6:03 p.m. Saturday from a 20-year-old man who reported that he drove the wrong way in a one-way section of the parking lot near Sears in the 11200 block of New Hampshire Avenue. The man noticed the Nissan followed his vehicle. The area is near the interchange between New Hampshire Avenue and U.S. 29.

Police said Hart stopped the man, got out of the vehicle and approached him. Hart reportedly told the man he would write him a $250 ticket for a violation. However, Hart said he would not write the ticket if the man sent him $50 by electronic payment. The man did that, but later called police.

Police said they found the Nissan in the shopping center parking lot around 7:50 p.m. Saturday and identified Hart as the driver. Hart was arrested and charged with impersonating a police officer, extortion and false imprisonment.

Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti, a police spokeswoman, said in an interview Monday evening that police have not determined whether Hart works for Allied Security.

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Police announced Hart’s arrest in a press release Monday afternoon and said he has been released on bond. No court date was listed in the state’s court database. There was no indication in the court record of an attorney representing Hart.

Police are asking anyone who might have interacted with Hart while he represented himself as an officer to call them at 240-773-6893.
Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com