CITRUS HEIGHTS (CBS13) – Police say a man posed as a firefighter in an effort commit sexual assault against a woman after meeting her and her husband in a Folsom bar.

Officers in Citrus Heights caught the firefighter imposter in the middle of the alleged crime spree.

Police tell CBS13 this crime began in Folsom when the suspect convinced the couple that he was a firefighter.

They trusted him.

Police say 29-year-old Richard Perez was able to convince a couple at a bar who had a little too much to drink that he would get them home safely.

“Mr. Perez identified himself as a firefighter,” Citrus Heights Police Sgt. Eric Mattke said.

Police say the pair trusted Perez as he drove them to Citrus Heights, but along the way they started feeling leery about him and told Perez to pull over.

“The young couple didn’t feel right with the couple that were giving them the ride so they decided to run from the location,” Mattke said. “They didn’t live too far away.”

It went downhill from there. Investigators say Perez pulled out a gun and ordered the woman back in the car. Her boyfriend then tried to protect her.

“The female’s boyfriend was punched by the suspect,” Mattke said, “and the female was forced against her will into the vehicle.”

Investigators say as Perez was driving he was sexually assaulting the woman, but she somehow was able to fight her way out of the car and escaped a few blocks away.

Witnesses called 911 and within minutes Perez was arrested.

His neighbors say he’s a nice guy.

“He got arrested for what you say again?” one lady asked.

Impersonating a firefighter, kidnapping and sexual assault.

But how was he able to convince the couple he was a firefighter?

“He did have a firefighter badge which through our investigation and statements from him, he purchased it online,” Mattke said.

Perez has since bailed out of jail, and no one came to the door when we knocked on his door Tuesday night.


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