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Fla. woman impersonates FF after stealing fire truck, calls chief after running out of gas

The Wellborn fire chief told a deputy that he had allowed the woman to spend the night at the firehouse


By Mark Price
The Charlotte Observer

SUWANEE COUNTY, Fla. — A North Florida woman is facing an unusual charge of impersonating a firefighter after she’s accused of stealing a firetruck and trying to convince a passing deputy she was on the job, according to the Suwannee County Sheriff’s Office.

The conversation happened Saturday, July 15, when the firetruck ran out of gas, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

Investigators learned the firetruck belonged to the Wellborn Volunteer Fire Department, which reported it stolen around the same time the suspect ran out of gas.

The scenario provided is complicated, if not odd.

“The volunteer fire department chief ... allowed (the suspect) to spend the night at the fire station the night before. When he returned to the station the next afternoon to respond to a call, he discovered that (woman) and a fire truck were missing,” the sheriff’s office said.

“While on the scene, (the suspect) called the volunteer fire chief and told him she had run out of gas and was at a business in Live Oak.”

A deputy went to Live Oak, about 10 miles northwest from Wellborn, and found the woman and the stolen firetruck, officials said.

When questioned, the 44-year-old woman “claimed she was a volunteer firefighter with Suwannee County,” the sheriff’s office reports.

“But according to the Suwannee County Fire Rescue administration, she was not on their official roster and was not authorized to operate the fire truck,” officials said. “They wished to pursue criminal charges.”

The woman, who lives in Wellborn, did not offer an explanation for why she had been driving the firetruck, but noted she left the keys in the truck’s cab, inside a blue cup, officials said.

She was arrested and “charged with grand theft and fraud – impersonating a firefighter,” officials said.

Wellborn is about 75 miles west of Jacksonville.

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