Man charged with rape, impersonating police officer

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY, Md. -- A suspect is behind bars after police say he impersonated a police officer, picked up a man a mile from the University of Maryland, then raped him in the backseat of his car.

Michael Leon Bell, 36, is charged with first degree rape, second degree assault, impersonating a police officer and additional charges. Police say the accused assault took place in the early hours of November 26th.

The victim, an adult male, reportedly told them that the suspect had pulled up alongside him in the 2300 block of University Boulevard driving a 2007 Crown Victoria, a model of car commonly used as a police patrol vehicle. The victim says Bell flashed a badge and identified himself as a police officer, then asked for his ID and patted him down, saying that the area was dangerous and offering him a a ride home.

The badge Bell is accused of showing to the victim

The victim told police that when he accepted, Bell drove him to Guilford Road, climbed in the backseat, and forced him to perform sexual acts. The victim was eventually able to escape, and took a picture of the Crown Victoria's license plate as it sped away, then called 911.

Bell was arrested based on the photo of the license plate, and police say evidence collected after a search warrant linked Bell to the crime and indicated the likelihood of other similar victims.

Police ask anyone who has information regarding this case to call the Prince George’s County Police Department’s Sexual Assault Unit 301-772-4908.