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California in Brief | HUNTINGTON BEACH

Pretend fireman is sentenced

May 20, 2008|Tony Barboza

A man who had impersonated a Los Angeles County firefighter at natural disaster sites around the country, including the World Trade Center and Hurricane Katrina, was convicted Monday.

James Campbell, 45, pleaded guilty to two felony counts of being a felon in possession of a firearm and one misdemeanor count of fraudulently impersonating a firefighter, according to the Orange County district attorney's office. He was sentenced to 120 days of home confinement.

Campbell, who could not become a firefighter or have firearms because of a past felony conviction, was arrested in September at his home, where authorities found an extensive collection of firefighting gear and photos. They also found a handgun and shotgun.

Campbell pretended to be a paramedic captain at disaster scenes including the Placentia Metrolink crash in 2002, the 2006 Sawtooth fire in San Bernardino County, and hurricanes Rita in the Gulf Coast and Dean in Florida, authorities said.

Campbell also was hired to teach CPR to local Southern California government agencies under the pretense of being a firefighter.

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-- Tony Barboza

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