Lakewood Police warned people Monday about a fake letter from someone claiming to be Police Chief Mike Zaro.
The letter identifies a specific house in the city as a drug house and encourages residents to take a stand against criminal activity.
"In a new approach, the city of Lakewood would like to encourage all hardworking citizens to get involved in ridding our city of this scum," the letter said. "Please contact everyone you know in your area and feel free to take cell phone video if you spot the individual engaged in said activity. Once you have video, please forward to city officials and we will take it from there in order to prosecute said individual."
The city says there is no validity to the request.
Instead, Zaro said the letter is fraudulent and stressed that the city and the Lakewood Police Department would never send a letter like that.
"If a citizen were to get one of these letters, what I would say is throw it away," said Zaro. "To try and send something out in the name of the police chief is pretty brazen. It does make me angry. It just hope nobody believes it."
Police were made aware that someone was impersonating the police chief when several of the letters marked “return to sender” showed up in the police department's mailbox.
"It's a little troubling to think there's someone out there that would go to that length for whatever issues they have with this residence," said Zaro. "The letter basically identifies a house in a neighborhood, a specific house, and it gives the address and identifies the house as a drug house and talks about crack cocaine being sold there and how we need to rid the neighborhood of these people."
But Zaro says they've found no evidence to support those allegations of drug activity.
"We've researched the house and the address and we haven't found anything to support what they're alleging as far as reports of criminal activity or police reports or calls to 911," he said.
KING 5 tracked down the person who lives at the address mentioned in the phony letter.
"It basically says that we're drug dealing out of our house. And there's no such thing going on here," said Joanna Lea Borgen, who lives at the home with her 92-year-old mother. "Just don't take it to heart what you read in this letter, because it's absolutely false."
Lea Borgen says the sender who forged the police chief's signature even sent one of the letters to their home. She went to the police department on Monday because she suspected the letter was fraudulent.
"I mean, it's been horrible for my mom," she said. "The neighbors stopped waving at her and saying hello, some of them that believed this letter, and that's what hurts. They know we've lived here forever. We've lived here for 54 years!"
If caught, the person who wrote the letter could face charges, including forgery, fraud, or impersonation of a police officer.
The city says any mass messages sent out to residents would be sent on official letterhead and accompanied by social media posts on the city and police department's Facebook and Twitter pages.
If residents have questions about the validity of communication from the city, they can call City Hall at (253) 589-2489.
Related: Fake letter from Lakewood Police