SAN DIEGO - A man posing as a federal officer abducted a Riverside County resident last month, took her through security at Lindbergh Field, and put her on a plane to the Philippines, officials confirmed Tuesday.
"He apparently followed the law enforcement procedures,'' Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Suzanne Trevino said. "We're reviewing how he interacted with the TSA at the security checkpoints.''
According to Hemet police, Gregory Raymond Denny, 37, confronted Cherrie Bell Hibbard at her home Jan. 15, wearing clothing with what appeared to be a federallogo on it, a badge around his neck and a gun belt holding a holstered pistol.
Claiming that he was deporting the pregnant woman, Denny allegedly drove her to a U.S. Border Patrol station in Murrieta. When officers there refused to take custody of her because they could find no warrant in her name, the suspect instead took her to San Diego International Airport, Hemet police Lt. Duane Wisehart said.
There, he allegedly escorted her through security to an airline gate, took the handcuffs off and ordered her to board an overseas flight, which she did, Wisehart said.
"Near as we can tell, a family member purchased the ticket at the request of the suspect,'' Wisehart said.
Hibbard's husband Craig says he bought the ticket because Denny's alleged act was believable. "Believable with uniform and badge, yes. He said he had an order from ICE to pick her up," he explained.
After the Hibbard's husband reported the incident, police asked Denny to come in for questioning, and he complied.
During the interrogation, Denny claimed to be an officer with the U.S. Marshals Service. Detectives determined, however, that he had never been employed with that agency nor any other law enforcement organization.
Craig Hibbard says Denny is a distant cousin, "I think he's mentally disturbed. I don't understand why he did this. I have met him like three times."
He was eventually booked into Southwest Justice Center on suspicion of impersonating an officer, kidnapping, false imprisonment and residential burglary. He has since been released on $50,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court in two weeks, according to jail records.
Trevino said Denny apparently showed airport security personnel a badge of some kind and was not flagged as an imposter.
There were no "incidents'' during the suspect's visit to the airport that day, according to the spokeswoman.
Tags: Gregory Raymond Denny, Cherrie Bell Hibbard, woman, wife, deported, fake, bizarre, odd, ghastlyghost, 2010
Location: San Diego, California, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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