Fire captain charged after strange RI incident

Apr 10, 2019 by

Published April 10, 2019

By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD — A Lynnfield fire captain has been placed on paid administrative leave after he was arrested on a disorderly conduct charge in Middletown, Rhode Island on April 3.

Fire Captain John Walsh, 60, was arrested after he allegedly entered the 7-Eleven on Aquidneck Avenue in Middletown completely naked.

According to an arrest report filed by Middletown police, a 7-Eleven employee called 911 and immediately hung up.

“The 911 operator advised that upon calling the store back and asking if they needed police or fire assistance, a female replied, ‘I can’t say right now,’” the officer stated.

According to the report, police arrived at the scene when the dispatcher informed him “the store clerk reported the reason for the 911 call was that a man walked into the convenience store fully naked, and then left the store driving a black Mercedes-Benz.”

Another Middletown officer located the Mercedes traveling eastbound on Miantonomi Avenue, and identified Walsh as the driver. Police said in a separate report that Walsh was asked why an officer stopped him. 

“(Walsh) told me that it was probably because he went into the store to buy a Diet Coke with no clothes on,” according to a police report. “When I asked him if he meant he was completely naked when he went into 7-Eleven, he said yes and he did it because he believed it was legal in Rhode Island and his girlfriend, who was seated in the passenger seat of the car, had dared him to.”

Walsh and the 29-year-old woman were both “fully clothed at the time of the stop,” one of the officer’s reports continued. The officer said the girlfriend told police that she “dared” Walsh to go into the store naked after he told her “it was legal in Rhode Island.”

The owner of the 7-Eleven stated in a written statement that Walsh allegedly “walked into the convenience store completely naked.”

“(The owner) indicated that Walsh purchased a Coca-Cola and approached the register with a smile on his face,” a report stated. “(The owner) was shaken up by his actions.”

Walsh has been a member of the Lynnfield Fire Department since 1979. He has been a captain since 2010.

Town Administrator Rob Dolan said Walsh “has been placed on paid administrative leave.”

“There is a pending ongoing investigation,” said Dolan.

Walsh did not return a phone call or respond to a Facebook message seeking comment.

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