WINCHESTER — A woman is accused of masquerading as a police officer while displaying a pistol.

Kelsey Elizabeth Rinker was charged on Saturday with impersonating a law enforcement officer after a man told police she said she was a cop.

“The accused did have a firearm on the dash of her vehicle in plain view, which the male observed,” Winchester Police Department Sgt. Frank J. Myrtle wrote in a criminal complaint. “The accused admitted to identifying herself as a police officer due to fear.”

The incident occurred on Race Street and was called in to police at 12:24 p.m. Saturday. Police spokeswoman and Deputy Chief Amanda R. Behan said in a Wednesday interview that the woman confronted the man outside a home. She told police she was trying to retrieve the keys to a vehicle she had loaned to a person who hadn’t returned them due to the person being addicted to drugs. The woman said she brought the gun with her because she was afraid there might be drug dealers or drug users in the neighborhood.

Impersonating an officer in Virginia is a misdemeanor. Impersonators often make or attempt to make traffic stops. Earlier this month, state police arrested a Harrisonburg man in Rockingham County who they said had flashing lights in his car and had tried to stop a motorcyclist on Interstate 81. Last month, a woman in Botetourt County told police she was stopped by a man posing as an officer.

Behan, an officer since 2001, said it is very rare for someone to be charged with impersonation in Winchester. Rinker, 22, of the 700 block of Brenda Court in Winchester, was issued a summons and released. She is due in Winchester Circuit Court at 1 p.m. on June 7.

— Contact Evan Goodenow at

(1) comment


Why would you loan your car to someone addicted to drugs?

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