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He was once a firefighter. Then he impersonated one and collected cash, deputies say.

According to an arrest report, he carried a boot, the receptacle of choice for many firefighters raising funds in good faith.

WESLEY CHAPEL — When deputies found a Hillsborough County man soliciting money Sunday on a commercial stretch of State Road 56, he was dressed for his old job.

That was a problem, deputies said, because Ryan Cushing-Gomez used to be a firefighter.

Now the 45-year-old faces a charge of impersonating one, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies arrested Cushing-Gomez near the intersection of the state road and Grand Cypress Drive, an area filled with box stores and shopping centers. According to an arrest report, he wore a Pasco County firefighter’s T-shirt and ball cap, and he carried a boot, the receptacle of choice for many firefighters raising funds in good faith.

Deputies did not know how much money he took in, according to the report. The report states Cushing-Gomez was fired from a firefighting job, but it does not specify when or why he was fired.

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