Marana police arrested a man Wednesday afternoon for impersonating a public servant when he posed as a firefighter at the funeral for a member of the ill-fated Granite Mountain hotshot crew.
During the funeral procession for William Warneke, 25 — one of 19 firefighters who died June 30 while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire near Prescott — a police officer took notice of James Patrick Brown, 29, Sgt. Jose Alvarez, spokesman for the Marana Police Department, said in a news release.
… an assistant fire chief for the city of Tucson noticed someone darting in and out of the procession, taking pictures.What’s more, he was wearing a Tucson Fire t-shirt and hat.When approached, our ‘photographer’ said he was a Tucson firefighter, for the city’s fleet services division.Little did he know, he was talking to the top dog in that division.In other words, he was asked to try again.49 year-old James Brown’s story continued to crumble, when police searched his pockets.“We found him in possession of two different fire department badges,” said Alvarez.
At the time of his arrest, Mr. Brown was wearing a Tucson Fire Department t-shirt and hat, and had a TFD Captain and a City of Wickenburg Fire Department badge in his possession. An investigation into how Mr. Brown came into the possession of the badges is ongoing.
Mr. Brown was also wanted on an outstanding felony warrant issued out Maricopa County for theft.
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