Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Man accused of impersonating firefighter to get free stuff

Robert Louis Spalla

[Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]

Robert Louis Spalla

ST. PETERSBURG — Authorities aren't sure how Robert Louis Spalla got his hands on an official fire department T-shirt. But they believe the Clearwater man got a lot of use out of it.

Police said Spalla, 22, who has never been a firefighter in Florida, spent six months wearing the T-shirt to get freebies from Pinellas County businesses.

Police, who arrested Spalla Wednesday on charges of impersonating a firefighter, said he got free meals, drinks and gas cards.

The ruse angered officials.

"We don't want the image that firefighters are going around asking for free stuff," said Lt. Joel Granata, a spokesman for St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue. "We're not. We don't do that. We're more professional than that."

It was unclear Wednesday how Spalla got the clothes.

"If he wanted to be a firefighter so bad," Granata said, "he should have just went to school and became one."

Spalla was in the Pinellas County Jail on Wednesday night in lieu of $5,000 bail.

Man accused of impersonating firefighter to get free stuff 02/27/13 [Last modified: Thursday, February 28, 2013 10:08am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Tim Tebow heads back to Sunshine State with promotion to St. Lucie

    Blogs

    Tim Tebow is coming back to the Sunshine State.

    Columbia Fireflies outfielder Tim Tebow looks out from the dugout before the team's game against the Augusta GreenJackets on April 6 in Columbia, S.C. Columbia defeated Augusta 14-7.
  2. 'Sharknado' coming to Tampa Theatre with director Q&A

    Blogs

    A movie about a tornado filled with man-eating sharks has to be better on the big screen, right? You'll have a chance to find out for yourself when the Syfy network's original Sharknado screens at Tampa Theatre.

    The original 'Sharknado,' which premiered in 2013, will screen at Tampa Theatre.
  3. Coast Guard airlifts man from fishing boat in Gulf of Mexico

    Public Safety

    A 27-year-old man was evacuated from a fishing boat in the Gulf of Mexico by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter Saturday night, authorities said.

  4. Trump: Not 'that far off' from passing health overhaul

    National

    WASHINGTON — Making a final push, President Donald Trump said he doesn't think congressional Republicans are "that far off" on a health overhaul to replace "the dead carcass of Obamacare." Expressing frustration, he complained about "the level of hostility" in government and wondered why both parties can't work …

    President Donald Trump speaks during a bill signing event for the "Department of Veterans Affairs Accountability and Whistleblower Protection Act of 2017" in the East Room of the White House, Friday, June 23, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) DCEV208
  5. Erin Andrews, ex-NHL player Jarret Stoll marry in Montana

    Celebrities

    NEW YORK — Sportscaster Erin Andrews and former NHL player Jarret Stoll have tied the knot.

    FILE - In this Oct. 30, 2016 file photo, Fox Sports broadcaster Erin Andrews, left, speaks with Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones after an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Atlanta. Jennifer Allen, a publicist for Andrews, confirms Sunday, June 25, 2017, that the 38-year-old Fox Sports sideline reporter and ???‚??“Dancing with the Stars???‚?? co-host married the 35-year-old Stoll over the weekend.  (AP Photo/David Goldman, File) NYSP103