TAMPA, Fla. — A man has been convicted for impersonating a law enforcement officer and raping a woman back in 2021.
Justin Evans was found guilty Wednesday on all four counts he was charged with — battery, impersonating a public officer and two counts of false imprisonment.
The crime happened just before midnight on Aug. 9, 2021, when Evans began following a car with three women inside from the Bull Market in Tampa, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said at the time. His car, a 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, was equipped with LED lights which were mounted on his dashboard, the sheriff's office added.
He used those lights to pull the women over into an apartment complex and approached their car wearing dark clothing. Evans reportedly told the women he was conducting a narcotics investigation and instructed them to get out of the car and put their hands on the hood while he searched him.
Evans told one of the women she was under arrest and tied her hands behind her back with a zip tie, the sheriff's office reported. Deputies said he then took her to another apartment complex and raped her.
Later, Evans dropped the woman off near the area where he had arrested her, deputies said.
The sheriff's office said deputies located Evans and his car the following day near Wesley Chapel in Pasco County. When he realized law enforcement was following him, Evans left his car and ran into a wooded area where he was arrested.
During the trial, Evans gave the following explanation for following the women in the first place:
"I was supposed to get some tacos and go home but when I saw the women pull up and get out of the car — I didn't know their names or nothing...I decided to pull up and engage in conversation...I asked for [one of the women's] number, she did not give it to me but said you could follow me though."
He is set to be sentenced on Dec. 19.