MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Memphis police say a woman impersonated an officer and threatened people to steal thousands of dollars in a bold and bizarre case.
Nicole Watkins faces a list of charges including robbery, theft, criminal impersonation, illegal use of a credit card, financial exploitation of vulnerable adults and false imprisonment for crimes she allegedly committed in late January and early February.
Police say at one point, she also escaped custody when she was taken to Methodist Hospital for treatment.
Watkins is accused of trying to extort an 84-year-old man. Police say she told the man he needed to pay thousands of dollars to have a non-existent rape charge dropped.
The man told police he was told to meet Watkins at a restaurant on Germantown Parkway, where she told him she would place him in handcuffs if he didn’t comply.
According to court records, the woman allegedly drove the victim to a bank where he withdrew $8,000 from an account. She then drove him to another bank where he attempted to withdraw another $10,000, but when the bank contacted the victim’s son and the account was frozen, police say the woman drove off with the $8,000.
Another man told police he was at a McDonald’s on South Third Street waiting to pick up a food delivery when a woman called him, telling him she was an undercover officer and he was surrounded by police.
Court records state the man was instructed to get in a black van in the parking lot where he met a woman he knew as Nicole. She allegedly told the man to withdraw $900 from a bank account, and give her cash and his mother’s debit card from his pockets, to pay a debt owed to a mutual friend. The man said he did it out of fear of going to jail.
The victim told investigators he has special needs.
WREG talked to that man and his wife Monday. She agreed to speak but didn’t want to be identified.
“I’m glad that she was charged because I feel like that was wrong, what she did to elderly people,” she said.
WREG went to Watkins’s listed address. Her mother said she didn’t know about the recent allegations, but knew her daughter was in jail. She said she hadn’t heard from her daughter in a while.
“She was a good person, she’d go to church, that’s all I know.”
Once Watkins was arrested, police say she had to be hospitalized for previous medical conditions, but she managed to escape. She has also been charged for that as well.
Watkins has posted bond. Her next court date is May 28, according to jail records.