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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Boca woman posing as cop conducts traffic stop, handcuffs man

BOCA RATON -- Police arrested a 21-year-old Boca Raton woman for impersonating a Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office deputy and conducting a traffic stop, complete with handcuffing a victim, about 4 p.m. Tuesday in the 3000 block of Clint Moore Road.

Computer Web designer Rachel Otto, dressed in Army camouflage, allegedly had victim Michael Mellin, 20, cuffed on the floor because he cut her off, according to an arrest report. She initially told police she was a PBSO deputy. When police asked her for identification, she removed the handcuffs from Mellin and walked back to her 2000 BMW. She said she was making a citizen's arrest for road rage and started naming people she knew in PBSO.

Mellin said he was headed eastbound in the 4000 block of Clint Moore Road when two cars were speeding up behind him, a BMW and a Honda. Mellin said he thought Otto was a male and saw her put on a utility belt, that police said had mace and handcuffs, and walked over to him asking for his driver's license and registration. Mellin left and the two cars chased him and Otto pointed mace at him, according to the police report.

Mellin was boxed in and pulled over, he told police. Otto then cuffed him, police said. Boca Raton Police pulled over when they saw the scene and arrested her.

The driver of the Honda, Philip Krizmanich, told police he thought Otto was a deputy and he was helping out.

Otto is the granddaughter of NASCAR co-founder Edgar Otto.

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