Medic accused of imitating officer

He allegedly tried to lure men to his car by claiming to be an undercover officer working sex crimes cases.

Published August 30, 2006

TAMPA - A Pinellas County paramedic with law enforcement training was arrested Monday, accused of trying to lure men into his car by pretending to be a police officer.

Police say 22-year-old Anthony Cusumano came up to two young men at Ballast Point Pier, telling them he was an undercover officer working sex crime cases. He flashed a badge and an identification card, the men told police.

The men doubted Cusumano's story, and police officers came to the pier to check it out, said police spokeswoman Andrea Davis.

Inside Cusumano's car, police found a Hillsborough County Sheriff's badge, a bullet-proof vest, a siren, red and white emergency lights in the front and back of the car, two sets of handcuffs, a .40-caliber handgun, two 9mm Glock magazines, two gun belts and a laminated card printed with Miranda warnings.

It wasn't clear how he got the Sheriff's Office badge, Davis said.

Cusumano was taken to the Hillsborough County jail on a charge of falsely impersonating a police officer. He posted $2,000 bail and was released, jail records show.

A phone message left at his home at 1404 E Chelsea St. was not returned.

On his arrest report, he listed his employer as Pinellas County EMS. Police confirmed that Cusumano worked as a paramedic and had graduated from the Police Academy at Hillsborough Community College.

Paramedics Plus, which provides paramedics for Pinellas County's ambulance service, suspended Cusumano Tuesday morning, a company official said.

He had worked for the company for two months.

Abbie VanSickle can be reached at 226-3373 or vansickle@sptimes.com.