Sex offender pretends to be firefighter at emergency scene

South Carolina chief says man previously showed up at firehouse to chat with firefighters

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In York County, South Carolina, a registered sex offender showed up at an emergency incident pretending to be a firefighter. Robert Shipman was arrested on Saturday. According to police, Shipman blocked the roadway at a crash scene with a truck equipped with red lights. Shipman served a jail sentence after pleading guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor. The fire chief says he had previously seen Shipman at emergency scenes and the firehouse.


York Fire Chief Domenic Manera told Channel 9′s South Carolina bureau reporter Greg Suskin that he met Shipman face to face at another accident scene two days earlier.

Manera said Shipman walked up to him and started talking about setting up a landing zone for a medical chopper.

“He came right up to me and started asking questions about what we were doing. He said he was gonna take his girlfriend’s car and go set up the LZ, and when I looked at him and said, ‘What are you talking about?’ he just walked away,” Manera said.

Manera also told Channel 9 that Shipman wore a bright jacket, with reflective stripes at the scene, like first responders often wear to be more visible.

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