Impersonating a firefighter online, a new case for police - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Impersonating a firefighter online, a new case for police

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WATERLOO (KWWL) -

A Dysart man has been arrested for claiming to be a Waterloo paramedic on the social media website Facebook.

Waterloo police arrested 20 year old Austin Reding after he posted on the radio station, KCRR's Facebook page that he rescued a man who jumped into the Cedar River after a police chase Wednesday.

On Wednesday evening Reding got on Facebook and made some impressive claims.

"Yeh, but hell I get paid for it plus I like to save people lives," said Reding.

People were impressed with the comments.

"I agree Austin. I'm glad there are people like you that work for emergency and safety," one person said.

Reding went on to post several more statements and answer questions.

"Actually I was just getting the cot and medical bags out when they pulled him out," said Reding.

But some people questioned Reding's claims.

"Been working for WFR for 22 years and never worked with ya Austin! Seems kinda sick to me to claim what ya ain't. What you did is illegal and you can get jail time for it," said one person who posted a comment.

Police were eventually called to investigate and it was discovered Reding wasn't who he said he was.

"We went down to his house in Dysart and interviewed him and he admitted to making the posts and realizing... We were able to verify that he was not a Waterloo fire fighter," said Captain Tim Pillack of the Waterloo Police Department.

Finding someone who posing as a public official on the web is something new for Waterloo police.

"This is the first one I'm aware of here in Waterloo. It was something new for us to look into and we consulted with the county attorney and we wanted to make sure something like this doesn't happen again," said Pillack.

In Waterloo, police officers, fire fighters, and paramedics are allowed to have a Facebook page. Director of Safety Services Dan Trelka even has one but they have been warned about what they can and can not put on their Facebook pages for legal reasons.

"We don't wan them to get into trouble by posting things they shouldn't and so we routinely have to remind them that there are rules and they do a good job of abiding by them," said Pillack.

Reding was being held in the Black Hawk County Jail, but he was recently released on $1,000 bond.

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