CITRUS HEIGHTS, CA (CNN/KOVR) -- A California couple needed a ride home after a night out so they took up the offer of a man who said he was a firefighter. But police say it was all a lie and that the impostor firefighter kidnapped and sexually assaulted the woman who thought he was there to help.
Police say 29-year-old Richard Perez was able to convince a couple at a bar who had a little too much to drink that he would get them home safely. Sgt. Eric Mattke says, "Mr. Perez identified himself as a firefighter."
Police say the pair trusted Perez as he drove them to Citrus Heights but along the way they started feeling leery about him and told Perez to pull over. Mattke says, "The young couple didn't feel right with the couple that were giving them the ride so they decided to run from the location. They didn't live too far away."
It went downhill from there. Investigators say Perez pulled out a gun and ordered the woman back in the car, her boyfriend then tried to protect her. Mattke says, "The female's boyfriend was punched by the suspect."
Threatening the girlfriend with a gun, police say Perez was determined. Mattke says, "And the female was forced against her will into the vehicle."
Investigators say as Perez was driving he was sexually assaulting the woman but somehow she was able to fight her way out of the car and escaped a few blocks away.
Witnesses called 911 and within minutes Perez was arrested. His neighbors say he's a nice guy. But he is now under arrest for impersonating a fire fighter, kidnapping and sexual assault.
But how was he able to convince the couple he was a fire fighter? Did he have ID? Mattke says,
"He did have a fire fighter badge which through our investigation and statements from him he indicated he had purchased it online."