No, it's not Photoshop: Explanation behind WPB police car in snowy European city

Police car replicas a growing hobby overseas
Posted at 8:31 PM, Mar 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-02 20:31:52-05

A picture is making the rounds on Facebook right now. It shows a West Palm Beach police car -- in the snow.

Are local police missing a car? Is it some sort of skilled Photoshop work?

Turns out, it's just a simple but special friendship between West Palm Beach police and a Dutch family on the other side of the world.

Police car replicas are a popular hobby overseas.

"I just saw too many movies when I was young, and I thought, 'I want to have one of those,'" said Raymond Bonnet, who lives in the Netherlands.

Bonnet spoke with WPTV's Alanna Quillen through Facetime on Thursday. His replica of a West Palm Beach police car has stirred the imaginations of those around his country.

"When I bought car, I wanted to make a replica of the West Palm Beach police cars and I contacted the police department and they were very friendly," he said. "You don't expect that you get such a warm welcome and make friends there."

His family had spent several holidays in Florida. They eventually developed a special bond with local police during a visit in October.

"They gave us a tour, almost two hours," said Bonnet. "The parking garage...I was most interested in."

Sgt. Joseph Herb, who helped give the tour and take pictures, was tickled.

"Of all the police departments across the country, he picks West Palm Beach," he said. "It gives us and our police department a little bit of notoriety."

After the visit, Bonnet had special decals made to put on a Crown Victoria former police car he acquired. He even got a Florida license plate off Ebay to top it off.

"It's a car you almost never see in the Netherlands," he said. "Most people, they don't even know what kind of brand or model it is."

Bonnet said there is only about 20 Crown Victorias in the entire country of 17 million people. The Crown Vic, used in thousands of police departments across the United States, are becoming more rare.

"Very famous police car for many years here at the police department and everywhere around the country. They don't make it anymore," said Sgt. Herb.

Bonnet's car is so popular, it even appeared in a music video for a famous Dutch pop star. You can watch the video on Youtube -- it already has almost 400,000 views.

Sgt. Herb said his own teenage son was astounded to see a picture of the car on social media.

"Yesterday, matter of fact, I'm working in my garage and my son sent me a picture from social media. He found it and said 'Hey dad have you seen this?" said Sgt. Herb. "And I'm like wow, this is going viral."

But there's a bigger reason behind having the novelty car.

"I mostly use it for charity events for chronically ill children," said Bonnet.

He said kids pass up the chance to sit in a Lamborghini at the charities. They want to ride in the West Palm Beach police car.

"I think it's very special," Bonnet added.

At the end of the day, Sgt. Herb said he couldn't ask for anything more.

"Any positive reinforcement to law enforcement nowadays is great for us, especially when it refers to us at West Palm, that makes it even better," he said. "If we can keep working with them and more people like that, it just gives us more positive reinforcement for law enforcement as far as I'm concerned."

West Palm Beach police said the family is welcome back for another visit any time.

"I'm very grateful for all West Palm Beach police. and especially Sgt. Lori Colombino for all the time and they gave to me and my family," said Bonnet.

If you look, the car even has it's own Facebook page and website.

The family plans to use the car for even more charity events in their hometown of Bergschenhoek, Netherlands.