PITTSBURGH (AP) — A male police officer spent much of December and January dressed as an Amish woman in hopes of scaring off a man suspected of exposing himself to Amish children in a western Pennsylvania township.
Pulaski Township Sgt. Chad Adams said Tuesday that police weren't able to charge the man because of a lack of evidence, but they believe he's the same person sentenced to house arrest in January for similar incidents in neighboring Mercer County. That's because the incidents in Pulaski, in Lawrence County, about 50 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, also stopped around the same time.
Still, Adams felt it was important to publicize his undercover gig on the Police Department's Facebook page, if only to deter the suspect or others in the future.
"Sometimes being a police officer means going undercover and doing what you have to do to catch the bad guy," Adams wrote in a caption for a photo showing him in a blue dress, black cloak and bonnet.
Adams was assisted by a female officer from nearby Wampum, who also dressed in Amish garb.
The Amish didn't want their children to testify in court and agreed to lend police the women's bonnets, aprons and dresses to catch or scare away the suspect.
Adams said the Amish were "not at all" concerned about his cross-dressing methods, despite their conservative beliefs.
"I wondered that myself, but I asked and they were all for it," the sergeant said. "They didn't want this man around here, they didn't want this to continue."
Adams said the suspect, whose car was seen in the area but who was never caught in the act of exposing himself in his township, is due to be released from house arrest soon.
"I figured if I put this out there, maybe it would deter him or others from even considering doing this in the future," Adams said.