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Woman Successfully Thwarts Dangerous Police Impersonator by Offering Him Taco

No one can turn down a free taco—even if they’re in the middle of committing several felonies.
Photo via Flickr user Jeffrey Beall

If you ever need to determine whether that stilted, personality-free individual you’ve seen in your neighborhood, your workplace, or serving as the Senior Advisor to the President of the United States is a real person or a just humanoid robot, offer them a free taco.

It’s a known fact that no one is capable of turning down a free taco—not if they’re human, and not even if they’re in the middle of committing a number of felonies at the time.


According to KTLA, on Sunday, an as-yet-unidentified California family stopped to grab dinner at their favorite taco truck on their way home from a water park. They got their food and were sitting in their minivan eating tacos and drinking sodas when a man on a bike rode up to the window. He told them that he was an undercover police officer and showed them a badge before he pulled up his shirt to reveal a gun tucked into his waistband. He stayed beside their vehicle and started to “intimidate and terrorize” the young family.

That’s when the quick-thinking mom handed him a taco, then told him she’d go to the taco truck to grab some napkins for him. She calmly got out of the van, leaving her husband and four children with the fake cop, who was going through her purse at the time. When she reached the taco truck, she told the other customers in line not to look toward her car, but to please call 911 immediately. They did.

Within minutes, deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were on the scene, and were able to disarm and handcuff 38-year-old Juan Rodriguez. (He attempted to escape by throwing the gun into the van and trying to climb in after it). He was booked on charges of child endangerment and impersonating an officer, and he also had outstanding warrants for previous crimes.

“We want to thank the community members who immediately called law enforcement to report the suspicious activity,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. “We want to give a shout out to the brave mother whose momma bear instincts kicked in and she was able to deescalate the situation, plan a distraction and found a way to get deputies to her location immediately.”

The Department also praised her “taco tactics” and “mother’s instinct” for allowing her to get her family out of a dangerous situation that could’ve easily turned into a tragedy.

No one can turn down a free taco. Thank goodness Juan Rodriguez didn’t.