Police arrest alleged bogus firefighter

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A man from Greenwood Lake was arrested Friday for allegedly pretending to be a firefighter during a warehouse blaze in February.

Suffern Fire Chief Michael Stark says while all the firefighters were trying to put out the flames, he noticed a newcomer on the scene and questioned him, demanding to know what his position on the fire line was. Stark says the man, who was later identified as 39-year-old Robert McConnell, told him he was an off-duty firefighter from Orange County.

Although McConnell was wearing an FDNY coat, Stark decided to report him to a sergeant. They took down McConnell's license plate number and began their investigation.

This is allegedly not the first time McConnell has pretended to be a firefighter. Authorities say he used to spend time at the Sterling Forest fire company in Tuxedo, but when the local firefighters found out he was not trained, they asked him to leave.

McConnell pleaded not guilty to charges of impersonation and trespassing. He is being held at the Rockland County Jail on a $15,000 bail.

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