Retired FDNY firefighter claimed to be 9/11 responder to get out of Fla. traffic stop

A search of James J. Tedesco IV's SUV turned up two AR-15 rifles, 1,139 rounds of ammunition, gas mask equipment, a New York City police jacket and a DEA hat


By Anthony G. Attrino
NJ.com

VERO BEACH, Fla. — The 43-year-old son of Bergen County Executive James Tedesco falsely claimed to have been a FDNY firefighter during 9/11 and a current Miami firefighter responding to a call after he was pulled over for speeding with flashing lights in his vehicle on a Florida highway last week, authorities said.

James J. Tedesco IV, a retired FDNY firefighter from Nanuet, New York, was stopped about 4:45 p.m. Nov. 22 on Interstate 95 South in Vero Beach, according to the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office.

Tedesco was driving a black SUV with a New York license plate at a high rate of speed and flashing lights, according to an arrest affidavit by Sheriff’s Deputy Eric Gruber.

“The vehicle was (spotted) in the inside lane traveling at 95 miles per hour with red-and-blue lights flashing on the passenger side of the vehicle,” Gruber wrote in his report.

The deputy pulled Tedesco over in the southbound lanes near mile marker 174, according to the affidavit.

Tedesco told the officer he is a retired firefighter from New York City currently working for the Miami Fire Department and that he was headed to a fire in Miami, according to the affidavit.

“Mr. Tedesco then stated, ‘If there is anything you can do, I am a firefighter who worked on 9/11,’” the affidavit states.

When the officer called the FDNY, he learned that Tedesco was hired as a firefighter in 2003 two years after 9/11, medically retired in 2018, “and is no longer employed by the fire department,” the affidavit states.

Tedesco then told the deputy that he was driving to Miami “to go fishing and was not employed by the Miami Fire Department,” the affidavit states.

“Mr. Tedesco stated that he lied because he was scared and did not know what to say,” the affidavit states.

A search of Tedesco’s SUV turned up two AR-15 rifles, 1,139 rounds of ammunition, gas mask equipment, a New York City police jacket and a “DEA hat,” according to the affidavit.

“Mr. Tedesco stated that his neighbor is a New York City police officer and that someone was fired from the department, so he gave them their bag of equipment in (exchange for) some fire department shirts,” the affidavit states.

The deputy wrote in the affidavit that he found more than an ounce of marijuana and brass knuckles in the vehicle’s center console.

Tedesco was charged with impersonating a police officer and possession of marijuana over 20 grams, which are felonies in Florida, the affidavit states.

He was taken to the Indian River County Jail and later released on bail pending a court hearing, jail records show.

Tedesco did not immediately respond to a voicemail message left on his cellphone.

His father, James J. Tedesco III, is serving his second four-year term as Bergen County Executive, which is an elected position.

The elder Tedesco has been a volunteer with the Paramus Fire Department for more than 40 years and was elected fire chief of that agency twice, according to his biography.

Tedesco III, who oversees the administration of county government, did not immediately respond to a voicemail and email seeking comment on his son’s arrest.

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