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From Hattiesburg American

Hattiesburg police are seeking two men who posed as law enforcement officers, entered a house where several Hispanics live and stole an estimated $2,500 Sunday night.

Santiago Lopez, who lives in the 900 block of West Fourth Street, said the robbers knocked on his door around 6 p.m. and announced they were police.

“I asked, ‘what police,’ but they wouldn’t tell me,” Lopez said Monday.

Lopez described the subjects as white men with short hair cuts and bad upper teeth. They were wearing shirts that identified them as police. He said one of the men had facial hair, and he guessed they were both about 30-35 years of age. One man was armed with a knife.

“He showed me one picture of a Mexican and said they were looking for that man,” Lopez said, “but I said I did not know him.”

One of the men proceeded to search the house, said Lopez, while the other man asked for identification. Lopez said there were seven or eight people in the house and they were searched by the robbers.

“I respect the police,” Lopez said, “so I did what he said.”

Lopez said the robbers took all of the money out of their wallets as they pretended to search for identification.

Lopez said he estimated that the subjects made off with about $2,500 in cash.

Lopez said the men began harassing him about the number of vehicles outside the house, and they told him they were going to search the vehicles to make sure they were legitimate. When they left, the robbers threatened the victims with arrest if they left the house.

Lopez said he waited a few minutes and then his brother discovered that his money was gone. Lopez said he then called the Hattiesburg police.

Police spokeswoman LaShana Sorrell said no arrests had been made as of Monday night.

“We are still in preliminary investigations at this time,” Sorrell said. “We want to assure our residents that we are fully investigating this.”

Lopez said this is the second time his home has been robbed in the past year.

“I’m mad, yes,” Lopez said, “because everybody works a long time and somebody in five minutes takes their money; it’s not right.”

Sorrell said if a person is suspicious of a police officer, he or she can ask the officer for a photo identification.

“All of our officers will show identification,” Sorrell said.

Sorrell said anyone with information about the robbery should call Crime Stoppers at (601) 582-7867 or the Hattiesburg police at (601) 544-7400

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