Fake Sign Language Interpreter Distracts from Police Press Conference

“She sat up there and waved her arms like she was singing 'Jingle Bells.'"

by Zahara Hill, December 6, 2017

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A seasoned con-woman made it difficult to pay attention to the details surrounding the capture of a Florida serial killer by impersonating a sign language interpreter.

Derlyn Roberts, who has been convicted of fraud on several occasions, bought her low-grade sign language abilities to a press conference hosted by Tampa police last Wednesday. And while she damn sure couldn’t properly play the part of a translator, she made sure to look it. Roberts can be seen sporting an up-do and donning professional attire as she signed nonsense in a clip from the conference below.

Tampa police Public Information Officer Steve Hegarty admitted to allowing Roberts into the press conference after she offered her services. He admitted he clearly didn’t ask the woman enough questions. Police are still baffled as to how Roberts knew of the press conference and its location. One deaf woman who saw the clip of the mysterious woman at the press conference said it looked as if she were performing a holiday song.

“She sat up there and waved her arms like she was singing Jingle Bells,” Rachell Settambrino told the Tampa Bay Times.

While Tampa police chief Brian Dugan recounted the crimes committed by suspected serial killer Howell Donaldson, Roberts reportedly communicated the following:

“Fifty-one hours ago, zero 12 22 (indecipherable) murder three minutes in 14 weeks ago in old (indecipherable) murder four five 55,000 plea 10 arrest murder bush (indecipherable) three age 24.”

Strangely enough, last Wednesday’s press conference wasn’t the first instance in which someone impersonated a sign language interpreter. During a news conference on Hurricane Irma in September, another impersonator was discovered to have been uttering absolute gibberish to distraught Florida residents.

Tampa police said Roberts’ actions were not illegal.

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