Police impersonation suspect brags on bus, gets busted

Police impersonation suspect brags on bus, gets busted
Ryan Purdy

AUBURN, Wash. -- Seemingly putting to rest any notion he is a criminal mastermind able to rob park-goers while staying one step ahead of the law with naught but a fake badge and box of porn, Ryan James Purdy was arrested Wednesday for allegedly impersonating an officer in a series of robberies dating back to December.

According to the Seattle Police Department, officers finally caught up with the 46-year-old Purdy, aka Tracy Byers, when he bragged to a fellow bus rider in Auburn that he was wanted by police for impersonating a cop.

The passenger promptly got off the bus and called 911, according to police. Purdy was arrested a short time later and booked into jail.

The search for Purdy started in December when he allegedly robbed a handful of people in Seattle's Volunteer Park using a fake badge.

According to police, Purdy would tell victims he was an undercover cop working an operation in the park and ask to see their wallets and ID. He would then remove credit cards before handing the wallets back, according to police.

Most recently, Purdy was suspected of using a box of pornographic magazines strategically placed in Seattle's Woodland Park as a misdirect before claiming to be an undercover officer in order to pat down and rob his victim.

According to police, Purdy pointed out the box of porn to another man in the park.

When the man took the box of porn back to his car, claiming he wanted to keep it out of the reach of children, Purdy followed him and performed his fake cop routine, according to police.